First up on the docket:
HONEY ON WHITE BREAD
When seventeen-year-old Claire Flanagan is wrenched from her father and deposited at the Good Shepherd’s Home for Wayward Girls, all dreams for Hollywood stardom are lost. But when twenty-year-old Benjamin Russell helps secure her release, she starts to believe in a happy future with him…until she discovers his ex-girlfriend is pregnant.
In this post WWII coming of age novel, Claire discovers the silver screen can’t compare with the fight she takes on for the leading role in her own life.
“I’ve never snuck into a theater before. Sneaking into a dark theater with Arnold …” Paulie laughed. “Are you sure this isn’t supposed to be a date?” Paulie appeared at once timid and suspicious.
“I’m sure. He’s getting me … us in to see a movie for free. Dick Hames! He’s so dreamy.”
“You know, Paulie, Arnold is a dear friend …”
“Oh, pooh, Claire.” Paulie batted at my skirt.
“Okay, okay, a special friend. We haven’t made any promises to each other or anything. He’s cute, he’s fun … but …”
“Oh, I don’t know.” A hint of guilt over the difference between how I felt about Arnold compared to how he felt about me passed like the breeze drifting over the porch boards. His were childish whims of infatuation, pushy, uninvited. “It’s kind of hard to explain…” I toyed with the folds of my skirt. If most of the girls at North High were stuck on Arnold, a great catch I didn’t appreciate, then I wished my best friend could change places with me. If only …
“Hey, ladies.” The blur of a male figure in jeans had ascended the porch steps, not pausing to pass pleasantries.
He opened the screen door and stepped into the house. Benjamin. My second encounter brought on an unexplained reaction; my heart pattered even though I’d barely caught a glimpse.
“Oh, hey, Ben,” Paulie said. “You look tired, big brother.”
Her words stopped him. “Little bit.” He paused behind the screen door.
“This is Claire.”
He tipped his head to me. “Nice to meet you, Claire.” He continued on into the house.
“Same here,” I muttered as the screen door shut.
“Now, where were we?” Paulie put a finger to her mouth.
I looped an arm through my friend’s. “We were going to see if your momma could use some help. Come on.” I pulled her from the seat. “Let’s help then freshen up before dinner.”
We let the screen door slam behind us and turned into the kitchen in time to see Benjamin lift his mother from the floor and spin around twice.
“You stop that, Benjamin Willis. Man or no, I can take a hand to your hide, if I need to.” Her hands flailed gently at his chest.
He laughed as he set her down, steadying her before letting go. Taut muscles on the back of his arms flexed with the effort; his deep laugh filled the kitchen. I couldn’t help being drawn into this entirely pleasant scene, comical and radiating warmth, inviting me to take part in their joy. His mother snatched a dishtowel from the counter and swiped at his legs.
“Hold off now. I give, I give.” He withdrew what appeared to be a check from his back pocket.
Mrs. Russell accepted the paper without comment and stuffed it into the frayed pocket of her red checked apron. He kissed her on the forehead, took the bottle of beer she offered him, and leaving the kitchen, nodded in my direction.
I sniffed the sweat of hard work and the yeasty smell of beer as he passed by. My head reeled for a moment with the warmth of the kitchen and the people within, combined with the essence of what I labeled man.
Oh man that one sounds good. I already love Benjamin. LOL Honey On White Bread is available from Melange Books or on Amazon.
And now for something a little more...racy? Vroom, vroommm...
And now for something a little more...racy? Vroom, vroommm...
TATTOOS, LEATHER & STUDS
Rachael suspects her date, Jason, is a drug dealer, and she’s torn between her attraction for this hot bad boy and running for safety. But a famous rock star vying for her attention and spiked champagne pose far more trouble. On a blind date she’ll never forget, Rachael learns first impressions can lead her down a dangerous path and straight into the arms of love.
Could this room get any thicker with sweaty, grinding bodies?
The bass blasting out of the speakers on stage reverberated in Rachael’s chest. This had to be unhealthy for her body’s natural electrical impulses.
The rapacious drumming coming from the guy standing at the table next to her grew louder by the minute. Did he think he’d come to a concert or a drum competition? He threw his whole body into his efforts, and she could barely avoid rubbing hips with the man while trying to not bump into her date on her other side.
Rubbing hips with her date would be perfectly fine. Thigh to thigh would be better considering his legs. But they barely knew each other’s names and at this point, good legs or not, his choice of venue and his image still had her wary. Rachael planted her feet firmly, but one particularly hard shove from behind, by a guy trying to dance his way to the bar, sent her sideways into her date giving him full knowledge of her breast size and resulted in a flirtatious smile.
Jason leaned in close, his mouth dampening her earlobe with his words. “I hope you like crowds. Truthfully, I wasn’t prepared for this.”
She could barely hear him above the noise. Practically shouting, she asked, “No? What were you expecting?”
“Something a bit more intimate.”
His emphasis on intimate sent goose bumps between her thighs. Rachael raised one foot and then the other; her high heels cramped her feet. She glanced sideways at the tattoos on her date’s forearms. Her scan included his biceps. He had nice arms, but what did all those strange symbols mean? There were so many of them. She could hear Shelly—Loosen up girl. Stuffy Mark had you in a five-year rut. How true. She used to know how to have fun. Her gaze drifted around the room and back to Jason. But the world changed while she was holed up with stay-at-home Mark.
Jason shifted his arm on the table, muscles and tattoos flexing. Her heart thumped. Had she accepted a date with a bad boy? Could this be her sister’s attempt at pumping up the volume on her otherwise boring life?
His mouth grazed her ear again. “I’m glad you’re with me. Makes the crowd bearable.” He pulled away and smiled, one of those mouth and eye smiles that smacks of sincerity.
Her heart thumped again, obviously telling her something her head couldn’t.
Another bump and this time their contact lasted, Jason’s leg brushing between her thighs. Definitely nice firm thighs. Did he do that on purpose? She didn’t move away. Why was her mind telling her one thing and her body another?
All the way to the theater he couldn’t quit raving over their good fortune—invitation only, small venue, pre-concert show available because of his business contacts. His rant sounded nervous, but he smelled so sensual in his Halston Cologne and smiled so charmingly. And he could talk intelligently about Lautrec. He’d said more than once that he’d been happy she’d agreed to a blind date.
Muscular thighs and Halston—apparently her sister knew what tempted her.
At the break, the decibels dropped to the tolerable roar of the black vinyl crowd. He ran his hand along her spine from her neck to her waist. “Would you like a beer?” Her ink-stained escort screamed louder than necessary in her ear then looked regretful at his faux pas.
She nodded her head, the tingle of his fingertips leaving her speechless so she forgave the eardrum assault. The crowd noise made talking difficult anyway, she reasoned.
His mouth stayed by her ear, his breath tickled her lobe and his fingertips slipped off the edge of her dress and onto the bare skin between her shoulder blades. She caught her breath at the subtly worded, “One more set.” With that he pushed through the crowd.
She glanced toward the bar, caught a glimpse of that gorgeous profile. After the show, she could decide whether to beg off for the rest of the evening or not.
HELLO! Give me a dangerous, tattoed, hot guy any day! Whoot! Tattoos, Leather and Studs is available from Melange Books, All Romance Ebooks, or Amazon.
Or maybe your tastes defer to something a little more short and sweet? Like the Warm Christmas Wishes Anthology perhaps?
AN ELFIN SECRET
When five-year-old Candace Cane questions why her father, Henry is an absent parent, her mother is speechless. But when Candace learns Daddy is an Elf named Santa Clause, life becomes magical…until Mommy dies and Henry and Santa cease to exist.
In this Christmas fantasy, Candace discovers magic lies within her heart and she’s never far from her mother or her father.
“You never tire of your picture book, do you? That’s probably the best present your father, Henry, ever gave you.” She stood over me gazing at the book.
Her warm hand glided down my cheek, and I looked at her. “Do you miss him, Mommy?”
“Miss him?” She sat at the foot of my bed.
There must have been a time when Henry did more in this house than drop off presents. Somehow they must have spent a lot of time together, I thought, or I wouldn’t be there. “Like when you were together?”
“Were? Candace you talk as if in the past. Your father is always with us.”
She looked confused. “Yes, always. He’s always here, in a way, and at other times in another way. Not in the sense Sarah’s father is or…or… Oh! Candace, I seem to be short on words.”
“Why do you call him Henry?”
She tilted her head, her blue eyes grew gray. “Candace you ask the most unusual questions.” She stood. The stone expression I remembered from a few years back flickered across her face. My heart thumped and I rose to my knees, but before I could apologize, tell her never mind, her blue eyes twinkled and the color came back to her face. “Your father is a very special father. Which makes you a very special person. Oh, if only I were so special. But he loves me. What we share is…” She waved a hand in the air.
“You don’t know you’re special, Mommy?”
She sat closer to me this time. “I’m different. You’re still a little too young to understand. Although I have to say, you’ve always been wiser than you should be. You’ve always been wise, and I’ve always been different. I crossed a bridge one night on Christmas nearly eleven years ago.” She sighed and smiled. “My life is like a fairy tale.”
“Happily ever after.”
“See how wise you are?” She patted my leg and stood. “Now get dressed and come down to breakfast.”
I looked at my book, now on the Santa Claus page. The wink. The secret.
ON THE WAY TO THE SNOW BALL
Lovely, rich Marie Louise Le Mare apparently has everything in life. So what can the handsome man in the red suit possibly give her? When they’re trapped in an elevator with only each other for company, a surprise gift exchange makes this Christmas special.
“They must be trying to fix it.” She sounded hopeful.
He stood perfectly still, listening for noise beyond their breathing.
“But could they kill the elevator music?” Her voice came out of the darkness and with each word rose until by the time she said music she was screeching. Barry Manilow crooned softly overhead. “Why should the music play if the stupid thing isn’t moving?” He could understand her irritation. Jingle Bells should not be crooned.
Again, the lights blinked and this time stayed on, dimmer than before. His eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness. She now stood far enough from him to get an overall picture. Her orange dress was form fitting and for someone so young, she was quite curvy.
“Does the music upset you?”
“Yes! It makes me manic!” She threw her hands in the air and took a step toward him.
“What is your name, young lady? Tell me about why you’re here.”
She smiled. “Good maneuver. Change the subject. Distract the crazy person.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, he leaned against the railing. “Are you claustro…?” Her scent tickled his nose again. He laid a finger on one side of his nose then the other. “Are you claustrophobic?”
“Are you allergic to elevators?”
“Maybe I’m allergic to you.” He concentrated on her smiling eyes but his peripheral vision took in the seductive curve of her hips. Attraction and reaction. Allergic reactions are caused by the body trying to defend itself against a suspected harmful entity. The mind and the body are not always in agreement on this. The lovely flower. Sniff and the body will convulse. Take a delicious bite and your throat constricts, suffocating you. “What have you got on? The scent?”
“Special holiday blend. Cinnamon and pine needles.
No wonder. Who had decided these things equated to the smell of Christmas? They might have asked him what his allergies were before deciding.
“That’s quite a suit.”
She snickered. “I’ll give it to you – takes confidence to wear something like that. Even this time of year.”
“You don’t like it?”
She ran a quick glance over him, hat to shoes. When she came back for a second look, she paused on his face, then his legs. “Actually, I do. I mean the cut is good. You’re well built so that helps to carry it off. Not sure about the Santa hat. But I guess it’s the season.”
“So if I wore this some other time of year, you might reconsider your opinion?” He didn’t need her opinion, but something about her giving him the once over, the approval, the lingering of her gaze, effected him like sweet caramel apples on his tongue.
“Do you dress like this all the time?”Thank you so much for bringing us these great excerpts, Brenda! Look for Brenda's other great stories and contact her here on the web!
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