Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome Javier Robayo and The Gaze!

Barnes & Noble
As a sophomore in college, Samantha Reddick meets Tony Amaya, a brokenhearted young man, whose written words she keeps as a memento of a weekend long affair. The words, written on the back of a paper placemat, become her only solid ground during a tumultuous decade that nearly destroys her, leaving her searching for answers at the bottom of the bottle. Haunted by guilt and the constant menace from a man she once loved, Samantha searches for Tony and inserts herself into his life through an online friend request to his wife, Gwen. Mutual curiosity opens the door to an unexpected friendship that becomes the catalyst of an inner battle between the better woman Samantha longs to be, and the Samantha who despises her own gaze.

Tony didn’t look nervous at all. Meanwhile I was awash in uneasiness at the prospect of bringing him into my dorm.

The story, all I want is the story and to find out what motivates such passionate writing, that’s all. Just the story…


I felt shaky while he walked. In contrast, his breathing was even as though he was so comfortable with the situation. I suddenly wondered if this particular situation was familiar to him.

We took the stairway to the second floor. Our footfalls echoed loudly, the sound joined only by the faint buzzing of the overhead fluorescent lights.

I unlocked the door with trembling hands that jangled the keys. Somehow, I found the light switch and chased the shadows away, revealing a second hand living room set on cheap flat carpeting. I peeled off my denim jacket and threw it across a chair in the kitchen nook. When I turned, I was surprised to see him leaning against the door, held back by uncertainty.

I held the paper placemat between us like an amulet to ward off his intensity. “Do you mind if I read it?”

He fixed his eyes on me and nodded before glancing away, his chin coming to rest on his chest.

I started reading. It was far more intense than I could have ever imagined. It was nothing but raw fury and passion, a determined declaration of love. It read of this girl that had become the center of his thoughts, the very core of his being. I could feel my heart breaking as I was overwhelmed with the strange notion that I wanted to be this Gwen of his. I wanted to know what it was to feel such passion, such love. Tears sprung in my eyes and I cried for him, for this fortunate girl…

For me...

He didn’t ask what was wrong right away. He simply stared just past my shoulder while I made a futile attempt to dispel a sob. I muttered that this was beautiful and he gave me a sad, crooked smile as a tear rolled off the corner of his eye before he turned his face away.

I don’t know what it was about that tear, but it made me go to him like a magnet to steel and place my hands on his face. His skin was burning. There was a little stubble that only made me too aware of his masculinity.
"Kiss me," I whispered into those confused brown eyes of his. "Just kiss me."

His hands found my wrists and his eyes stayed on mine. Need became a force as tangible as the strong winds that fuel a storm.

I knew he was thinking I was crazy. I knew he thought of all the reasons why he should stop this crazy bitch in heat and go away. Bloody hell, I was thinking I was crazy.

A tiny voice in my head was screaming all sorts of warnings but just when I felt rejection eating away at me, his eyes fell on my lips and after one breathless moment, he leaned down and kissed me.

Molten lead would have frozen my insides in comparison. I was trembling and when I felt his breath stutter, I opened my lips in invitation. He pulled away and a disappointed moan escaped my throat, allowing reason to slowly take root in my brain. I kept my eyes on his.

His hand held my face as delicately as a summer breeze. His thumb brushed away the tears I finally tried to blink away. His eyes seemed to glitter as they searched mine and time seemed to stop its endless march in perfect silence.

Was this wrong? I let out my pent up breath slowly in a sorrowful sigh as electricity crackled between us.

In one swift motion, his hands brought my face up at an angle and he kissed me so hard, I lost what little restraint I had left.

He loves someone else…

He loves her…

Stop this!

I felt weightless. His touch was firm yet gentle. The kiss grew needier and heat traveled down into my body, setting my abdomen aflutter. My hands found the flat planes of his chest and then ran down his sides to his hips. On their way back, they pushed his shirt up. His hot skin sent a pang of need that had my heart hammering in my ribcage.

My tickling fingers forced him to shift and pull away for a breath. I answered his smile with a lustful gaze as I brought his hands to the buttons of my uniform shirt.

His hands ventured over my abdomen and moved up to grace the underside of my breasts, making my head swim. I shrugged the shirt off and his t-shirt joined it on the floor within seconds.

We engaged in a stumbling waltz as we somehow made our way to my bedroom. Our clothes kept pooling on the floor, marking our passing like bread crumbs on an unknown trail. I was almost sick with need as the coarse hair of his chest made contact with my skin. When I felt him rigid on my thighs, I pulled hard on his neck, bringing him on top of me as he braced his fall with his arms on either side of me, never breaking from the kiss.

“Wait…” he panted. “I… um… I don’t have anything.”

It took a few seconds before I realized what he meant. Shame colored me a shade of red I thought would make me glow in the semi darkness. “It’s okay, I promise…” I said breathlessly.

He gave me a dubious look that I hoped to eradicate with more kissing. His lips found my throat, my face, my shoulder, and I curled driving my hips up to meet him. He was being gentle, too gentle, I thought in frustration, when all I wanted was for him to go right through me. I grabbed hold of his hips, and then thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the muscles on his back as I pulled him into me. The sudden fullness forced me to bite my lip to keep me from crying out. It had been so bloody long…

“Kelly…” he whispered almost breaking the spell, but I was too far gone to care.

A thin wisp of rational thought told me he was probably thinking about someone else. I wondered if he called out Kelly only to remind himself that he wasn’t with the girl behind his writing. It didn’t matter. My body overrode my mind as he moved within me. I held on tighter, needing the closeness, if only physical.

…I’ll be no more than a transient thought in her mind, a small measure of time, insignificant. No more than a barely familiar set of notes to a song seldom remembered…

The lines of his writing flashed through my head as my breath grew shallower.

…No more can I feel the soft warmth of her kiss and its absence becomes me in the form of a living death…

All I could do was accept this moment and quell my own thirst for that kind of love with what little he offered me. The kind of love he obviously reserved for the girl from his writing.

His muscles grew taut under my touch while I held my breath as the inevitable rush of heat converged into my center from all corners of my body. I parted the kiss and screamed my ecstasy, burying my face into his chest while he grew impossibly large in me before collapsing, his own conclusion reached. We held onto each other, our breath ragged, both of us feeling each other’s tremors. If this was the one and only time I was to feel this way, then I’d go into the grave smiling to the high heavens. 

Javier A. Robayo is the author of THE GAZE and THE NEXT CHAPTER. He immigrated to the United States in 1988 at the age of 12 from Quito, Ecuador. He began writing as a way of learning English throughout his high school years, and studied at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He lives in Connecticut, with his wife, and two daughters, where he is currently at work on his next novel.
Here's how you can reach Javier: 

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Visit to Vienna with Nancy Jardine

Okay, I am GREEN with envy. I have the fabulously talented Nancy Jardine at Tattered Pages today, and after reading this post, have decided to add Vienna to my bucket list! Let's all visit this city rich with history and beauty with Nancy!

Hi, AJ. I’m totally delighted to be visiting you today. I’m still on a high from the recent release last week of my novel–Topaz Eyes – an ancestral mystery, published by Crooked Cat Publishing. My main characters, Teun Zeger and Keira Drummond in Topaz Eyes, spend a little time in the US, but they also spend a lot of time in some lovely cities in Europe. Some of my mini-blog tour posts feature the places they encounter and today I’m concentrating on the elegantly beautiful Austrian city of Vienna.  (Details of other posts on my blog: )

What has Keira found in Vienna? And what might she view with her hunky Californian, Teun, the guy she’s paired up with to find the missing jewellery that once belonged to a Mughal emperor? The tourist spots are endless, the architecture fantastic. There are so many museums, art galleries and famous public buildings it is so difficult for Keira to choose which to visit- then again, there are so many sinister things happening as well in Topaz Eyes that they’re not really there as tourists!  

Vienna had to appear in my writing, sometime. I’ve been lucky to visit many exciting places and Vienna definitely qualifies as one of them. It’s a spectacular city to visit. Full of grandeur, the wealth of different architectural styles is absolutely breathtaking. So much can be done on foot, but equally there are other ways of seeing the attractions of this splendid city.
Recently inaugurated, the new Ring Tram system makes it even easier to see the old inner city areas since it has a hop-on, hop-off system. Around half an hour will take you round the perimeter of the old city, making it just perfect for a first reconnaissance, after which you can choose which attractions first take your fancy. Keira found the Ring Tram just a tad threatening- not the pleasant prospect she expected-but the visitor in general will love it. You’ll have to read the book to find out why Keira didn’t like it so much!
The huge Kunsthistorische Museum has such wonderful collections it’s far too difficult to decide exactly what to spend time on. I could have spent my whole week’s holiday in that one museum. Go early in the day would be my advice because you just might need to rest your legs now and again.

Alternatively you might prefer to laze away your afternoon at the park called the Prater. On a sunny, warm day you can loll about the wonderful park areas, picnic on the grass, enjoy the world passing by…or you could be up on the giant Ferris wheel getting a bird’s eye view of the city. My trip was during October and not so warm, but the view from the top of the Ferris wheel was stunning. No ordinary Ferris wheel, the Prater wheel has cars, holding quite a few people—as in a cable car.   

Or what about trotting around the old city in a horse drawn carriage? That was fantastic fun, though not exactly for the limited pocket!

If you’re more of a modern art lover you cannot go to Vienna without visiting the Gustav Klimt collection. The Kiss, by Klimt, is quite amazing to view—its golden hues and deep colours have a vitality that I found astounding considering the painting is now more than a century old, painted in 1907/1908.

There are so many art galleries in Vienna that the decision to visit boiled down to what my husband and I could reasonably fit into our short holiday. Visiting the Schonbrunn and Belvedere Palaces was a must since the belongings of the Habsburg rulers are at the heart of Viennese culture.

I would love to have seen the famous stallions of Vienna- a Lipizzaner show being described as a feat of unparalleled horsemanship, and a stupendous ballet.

The New Year’s Day Concert broadcast from Vienna and seen on millions of TVs worldwide was no stranger to us. I really fancied a night in that fantastic building of glittering chandeliers, full of splendidly dressed patrons. It wasn’t to be-although we did a tour of the building one morning.

Time and money were major consideration on my short visit, the horses didn’t win either, but a night at the opera did. What we went to was just absolutely splendid. A Mozart Opera performed by the Statsopera, in the Musikverein was breathtaking. Our holiday fund didn’t run to seats close to the stage- not quite. We were way up in ‘the gods’, in seats at the very font, though if you are the least bit inclined to suffer from vertigo-don’t go! The view was incredible - opera glasses definitely recommended - although the overhead translation of the libretto is an extra bonus! 

That’s only a tiny bit of what we saw in Vienna, and what’s available to see. Vienna truly is a fabulous city to visit and I’d love to go back again. What about you? Would you like to see the city that Keira and Teun had some scary moments in?

AJ, thanks for letting me share a little of Vienna with your readers. I hope they enjoy reading about the city, and I’d love them to tell me if they enjoy reading about the exciting happenings to Teun and Keira while they’re Vienna, in Topaz Eyes.


What details can you add about Vienna? It can be anything, so long as your answer includes the word Vienna! Please leave your answer in the comment box, along with your email address, to be entered into the drawing for an e-copy of TOPAZ EYES.  (takes place on 15th December)


A peculiar invitation to Heidelberg embroils Keira Drummond in the search for a mysterious collection of extraordinary jewels once owned by a Mughal Emperor; a hoard that was last known to be in the possession of Amsterdam resident, Geertje Hoogeveen, in 1910.

Who among the progeny of Geertje – hitherto unfamiliar third cousins brought together for the quest – can Keira rely on? Distrust and suspicion among them is rife.

Which one is greedy, and determined enough, to hire thugs to tail her… and worse… as she travels to Vienna and Minnesota?  Can Keira even trust Teun Zeger - a Californian she is becoming very drawn to – as they pair up to unearth the jewellery?

As they follow a trail of clues, will they uncover the full collection before the hired gun kills them? Details remain furtive and undisclosed until danger and death forces their exposure. And who harbours the ultimate mystery item that is even more precious than the Mughal jewels?

Greed, suspicion and murder are balanced by growing family loyalty, trust, and love.


Exploring Vienna would have been so much nicer with company, special company.

Every single building needed time to savour. One fabulous piece of architecture led to the next… and the next. Speed-walking the last part of the Hofburg didn’t do it justice. Keira muttered a vow to explore it more thoroughly the following day as her neck craned to the top of a particularly ornate rooftop on the corner building, before she emerged out into the boulevard. Finding the pedestrian crossing at the Ringstrasse was in her favour, she scooted over the road.

After she crossed, she looked back to enjoy the view.

“What the hell?” Her mouth gaped… her eyes, too.

At the far side of the wide stretch of road someone ducked down to tie his shoelace, the whiteness of the hair grabbing Keira’s attention before a steady stream of traffic flowed in front of her as the traffic lights changed.

“Not again!” 

Anger built, the little frisson of initial fear became a heat of annoyance. Why was the bastard still following her? She’d no jewels to protect any more, so what the hell did he think he’d get from her? She squinted in the strong sunlight, cars and vans creating a stroboscopic effect. When the traffic ceased to flow, the lights red again, she faced an empty space.

Author Bio:

An ex-primary teacher, Nancy Jardine, lives in the fabulous castle country of Aberdeenshire – Scotland. Her husband mans the kitchen, her offspring only an hour’s drive away. When time permits, ancestry research is an intermittent hobby. Neglecting her large garden in favour of writing, she now grows spectacularly giant thistles. Activity weekends with her extended family are prized since they give her great fodder for new writing.
A lover of history, it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel, The Beltane Choice, also published by Crooked Cat Publishing.

Nancy Jardine can be found at:
Twitter @nansjar

Topaz Eyes is available from Amazon
Click the link to see the book trailer for TopazEyes
For all of Nancy Jardine’s books see:

Thanks for visiting with us today! And don't forget to leave a comment including
the word Vienna to be entered into the drawing! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Prognosis: Positive!

Yesterday I went for my first ever stress test, and overall, I would describe the experience as...pleasant. While I was extremely nervous prior to my departure, I gotta say I also received some very sage advice from my dear friend Vonnie Davis, and consquently spent the half hour drive to the facility "talking with God". It was a good discussion. And for any of you that may have to undergo something of this nature, I recommend doing the same. Laying my fears down at His feet allowed me to breathe a little easier, concentrate on traffic and get myself there in one piece. So for that, I must send a shout out. "Thank you, Vonnie!" XO

The stress test technician, Julie, was very nice, and while she took my blood pressure, dotted my body with electrodes and hooked me up to a machine which displayed my heartbeat on a television monitor--as well as chugged out a long succession of paper printing said heartbeat--we discussed everything from menopause to how to remove the sticky residue from between my boobs (see previous post re: Holter Monitor) to Kate Moss (I'd been reading Vogue prior to Julie's arrival).

The doctor appeared shortly thereafter and following several questions regarding my symptoms, I was asked to step on a treadmill which steadily increased in pace and incline to raise the level of my heartbeat.

A note here about the doctor:  I adored this man. I'm not sure if he is just a really good physician or if he took somewhat of a liking to me, but throughout the exam and subsequent consultation, I almost began to think of myself as his long-lost daughter. No lie. Estimating, I'd guess he is in his mid-seventies. He has eyes the shade of the softest powder blue baby blanket and spoke with a strong East German accent (Or could've been Polish. Regardless, he had to be from some European country.)

Dr. Bonus Point #1:  "It vould seem you may have some trouble with thees time of year. But thees is to be expected. Vith a Thanksgiving feast to prepare, house guests, Christmas and another feast... Ach, the stress is unduly hawd."

He really was quite fatherly--to me, at least-- and consequently took me under his wing. Said he was taking over the case, would dictate a letter to my regular GP, and then suggested several times that I call him directly should I have any questions or trouble. Sort of unheard of in this day in age for a busy cardiologist.

The diagnosis:  cardiac arrythmia. The good news is the condition is benign--based on the fact the palpitations disappeared during exercise.

Dr. Bonus Point #2:  "Vat thees means is you vill not suffer a hawtattack, stroke or hawtdisease from thees condition."

Okay, so now the only hurdle is to find the right meds. While cardiac arrythmia can be controlled with exercise, it takes a while for it to work (i.e. the longer I exercise over a period of months, the less I should experience the fluttering). So in the meantime I'm either left to suffer or can take meds which, unfortunately, come with a long list of side affects. And while the one pill I took last night did ease the fluttering quite a bit, today my brain has been officially zombiefied.

So that brings things up to speed. I want to pause here a moment, though, to extend my deepest most heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contacted me to show their support. I seriously don't think I'd have been able to make it through these past few weeks without all of you. Thank you so much for all the comments and well wishes. You have made me feel truly loved.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Welcome Cara Marsi and Murder Mi Amore!

Murder, jewel thieves and terrorists intrude on an American woman's
 Roman holiday; can she trust the sexy,
mysterious Italian man who comes to her aid?
Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn't know what to think--or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni's assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more--something he allowed himself to hope for only.

Lexie had started to run to him when someone grabbed her arm, pulling her around. A man, his face hidden by a ski mask, held tightly to her. Her shock ratcheted to fear. “Let go,” she yelled, trying to jerk her arm away from him, but his grip tightened. The dim light from the balcony above illuminated his flat black eyes. She had seen those eyes before. Holy shit. She was in trouble. The masked man grabbed for her purse. She screamed, and with strength she didn’t know she possessed, whammed him on the head with her purse. He staggered back, swearing, and slipped and fell. Lights and freedom beckoned from the nearby Via Corsi, but all Lexie could think about was Dominic. Turning on her heels, she ran to him, slipping on the ancient stones herself as Dominic struggled to stand. But before she could reach him, the mugger caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder, twisting her around. Dominic sprang up and flew at the mugger, knocking him to the ground. The two men grappled, rolling together on the cobbled street. Lexie, her heart thumping wildly, looked for an opening to bean the mugger again, to give Dominic a better chance at overcoming him.

“Stop it! Stop it! Leave him alone!” The mugger ended up on top, and she whaled away with her bag, getting in any shot she could.

Shouts and the slap of running feet vibrated through the alley. The mugger swore, jumped up, and raced away, a few men giving chase. Several others helped Dominic to stand, yelling in excited voices, and gesturing toward where their attacker had disappeared.

Dominic winced in pain. Lexie looked down at his ripped, blood-soaked pant leg. “Dominic, you’ve got to get to the hospital. You’re bleeding.”

“I’m okay,” he said. “It is nothing.” Brushing dirt off his jacket, he turned to the men and said something in rapid Italian. With nods, they strode away.

Breathing heavily, Lexie disagreed. “You’re not okay. We’ll get a cab and take you to the hospital.”

He cupped her shoulders. “I’ve been through worse. I’m fine. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

“No. I’m…” The full impact of what had happened hit her. The adrenaline that had given her strength suddenly dissipated and she began to tremble. “I’m not okay.”

“Lexie.” Dominic moved forward to take her into his arms. She held on for dear life, needing his strength. He rubbed his hand along her back. “It’s okay, Lexie. We’re both okay. You’re safe with me.”

She clung to him. It wasn’t her imagination. Strange things were happening. She had nothing anyone could want. She didn’t know who to trust. Dominic said she was safe with him. But was she really?
Author Bio:

Award-winning author Cara Marsi is a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller with a romantic soul. She craves books with happy endings and loves to write about strong heroes and the independent women they love. She also loves to put her characters in dangerous situations and situations that are merely dangerous to their hearts and watch them fight for the happy endings they deserve.

She credits her love of romance to the old Thirties and Forties romantic comedies she watched on late night TV growing up. She's published in contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and has also published numerous short romance stories in national magazines. She and her husband enjoy traveling and she loves to write about the places they've visited. They share their house with a fat black diva of a cat named Killer.
Find Cara on the Web Here: