Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meet author Kali Argent and a Contest



Sometimes, new beginnings come from unexpected places.
To Cecily Baker, being unattached means making her own decisions, living by her own rules, and never answering to anyone. So when her sister drags her to a singles night at a local club—and then ditches her—it only strengthens Cecily’s conviction that dating just isn’t for her.
Pulling double duty as a bouncer and a bartender, RafeSerento has seen a parade of beautiful women walk through the doors of Electric Mist, but he’s never met anyone like Cecily. Lovely in every sense of the word, and just as stubborn, she challenges everything he thought he wanted in a relationship.
The more Cecily pushes him away, though, the harder Rafe pushes back, and unless they find some common ground, they’ll both end up Alone.
Now available from:

EXCERPT
“About four years now.” The tightness in her voice testified to her level of pain, but Cecily didn’t complain as she limped beside him. “Thank you, by the way. I’m sure this isn’t how you planned to spend your night.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I like to think I’m something of a superhero. Leaping tall buildings, racing bullets, and helping beautiful damsels in distress. It’s all in the job description.”
Cecily laughed at his lame joke, a deep, throaty chuckle that tripped his pulse into a gallop. “Mild mannered bouncer by night, milder mannered superhero by later night? Sounds intriguing.”
“Yeah, but it’s not all fun and games.” The breeze shifted, bringing with it the faint scent of floral perfume mixed with just a hint of vodka. “I mean, where do you even find a phone booth in this town?”
Nearing the crosswalk, Cecily pulled him to a stop and leaned heavily against his side. “Just one second, okay? Sorry about this.”
He could tell her not to apologize for something she had no control over, but Rafe had a feeling anything he said would fall on deaf ears. “I’m not in any hurry,” he answered instead. “I don’t have anywhere to be, and it’s not like I’ve got someone waiting up for me.”
“So you live alone?” Cecily sounded nothing more than mildly curious as she reached over to drop her shoes into the nearby trashcan. “I really liked those shoes,” she mumbled offhandedly. “They hurt like hell, but they were pretty.”
“I’m sorry for your loss. We’ll look into grief counseling in the morning.”
Cecily’s husky laughter ended abruptly when she sucked in a sharp breath through gritted teeth. “Light’s green. I’m ready.” She held a little tighter to his arm as they crossed the street, allowing him to support just a bit more of her weight. “You never did answer. About living alone?”
“Miss Baker, are you flirting with me? Trying to get me all to yourself?”
“I already have you to myself, Mr. Serento, but don’t worry. I promise not to take advantage.”
The Garden Apartments loomed just ahead, windows illuminated with soft amber lights or flickering with the glow of television sets. “Almost there. How you doing?”
“It hurts.” Cecily pulled his wool coat more securely around herself as she limped along beside him. “I’ll live, though. I think you were on to something with that bed rest and aspirin plan.”
Neither of them spoke again as they made their way along the canal to the complex. The silence was peaceful, not awkward or uncomfortable, and Rafe felt a small pang of disappointment when they finally reached their destination.
“Here we are, safe and sound as promised.” He gazed up at the wall of windows. “Tell me you’re not on the fifth floor.”
Ducking her head, Cecily tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and bit down on her bottom lip. “I’m on the fifth floor.”
“Well, okay.” In one fluid motion, he swept Cecily into his arms and strode toward the steps.
Cecily squealed, a sound he didn’t think her capable of making, and swatted him in the back of the head. “What the hell are you doing?”
“How else do you plan to make it up five flights of stairs?”
“Shut up.” With a disgruntled, though adorable, growl, she settled into his arms and stopped squirming. “Are you always like this?”
“Like what?”
“Logical.”
“Oh, absolutely not.” Rafe shook his head as he ascended the third flight of steps. “Probably ninety percent of the shit I say makes no sense whatsoever.”
“You’re not like most guys.”
It sounded like a compliment. She looked thoughtful instead of disgusted when she said it. I’m going to take it as a compliment.
“Do you need help getting settled?” he asked when they reached the landing on the top floor.
He expected her stubborn pride to make a comeback, so he was pleasantly surprised when she nodded and pointed toward her apartment door.
“If you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it.” Cecily paused and tilted her head to the side. “You’re not a serial killer, right?”
“Not recently.”
“Or a prude?”
“Uh…” The air suddenly felt thick and suffocating, and heat crawled up Rafe’s neck to his cheeks. “Why do you ask?”
Pushing the lapels of his jacket aside, she licked her full lips while her green eyes danced with what he could only assume was mischief. “My apartment key…” Cecily skimmed her fingers along the swell of her left breast and reached into the plunging neckline of her dress to produce a sing, gold key. “Ta-da.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born with a silver tongue and a pen in her hand, Kali spends her days sleeping (she's part vampire) and her nights crafting scandalous romances with larger-than-life heroes.
Self-proclaimed patron goddess of reclusiveness, Kali currently resides in the Midwest with her oddly supportive family and tragically misunderstood cat. 
Seriously, though, the cat is evil.

ON THE WEB


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

#SneakPeek - Sharing the Courtesan

Hello all! It's been a turbulent spring and summer for me, but I wanted to give a shout out about my upcoming release. It's titled SHARING THE COURTESAN and it's coming to Ellora's Cave later this summer!

Have a look :)

Excerpt:


The guards stormed the courtesan’s suite of rooms. Merewyn shrieked at the sudden intrusion.

“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded, struggling against the men restraining her. Her black hair hung loose around her porcelain shoulders, a dressing gown barely covering her curvaceous form. Ahron felt a twinge of shame at catching the lady in such an informal state.

“That won’t be necessary,” Ahron told his men, who promptly released her.

“Lady Merewyn, I regret to inform you that you must now gather your belongings and then we shall escort you from the castle grounds to The Outlands. You have been sentenced to exile.”

“On whose authority?” She pulled her frightened children closer to her—a boy of two years old and a girl of five. The eldest boy stepped between Ahron and his mother, the chiseled features of the child’s father evident even in his nine-year-old face. He displayed the same bravery Aldfrid would have if faced with the same situation.

“Don’t touch her.” Anger flashed in his ice-blue eyes―the one feature he had inherited from his mother.

Ahron laid a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder. “You show valor beyond your years, but this is not a fight you can win. The queen herself has ordered the exile of your mother and siblings.”

“Exile? That cannot be. The castle is our home.” Merewyn spoke to Ahron, but nudged her son Owain to join the others. Two guards caught the boy by his wrists.

“Owain is to stay here.” Ahron met Merewyn’s gaze. Her eyes widened as his full meaning dawned on her.

“No,” she pleaded, clutching at his hand. “No, you can’t take my son.”

“Milady, I have no choice.”

Two more guards restrained her as the others escorted Owain from the room. The boy put up a fight, as did his mother, but their efforts came to naught. Merewyn collapsed to the floor, screaming and sobbing. “She can’t do this.”

Ahron knelt down and stroked the woman’s perfumed hair. “She can do anything she likes. She’s the monarch de facto. The king’s will names her regent until Owain comes of age.”

Wild-eyed and shaking, she looked up at her oldest boy. “What will be his fate?”

“I cannot speak to that.” Ahron nudged her to her feet. “But I swear you this―I will protect him as much as I can.”

Merewyn shook her head. “I will not accept this.”

“You must.” Ahron gripped her arm, leading her toward the door. “We must go.”

Dragging the boy down the hall, the guards disappeared, Owain’s objections echoing for all to hear.

Tears streamed down his mother’s face and the other children hid sobbing in her skirts.

Ahron produced a handkerchief from his sleeve and handed it to Merewyn. “I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself and some of your belongings. Then, milady, we really must go.”

As he led the shattered family from their suites, he hardened his heart against the woman’s pleas. The cries of the children proved much harder to ignore.
__________________________
 

Monday, April 14, 2014

#BreastCancerAwareness #Makeup Monday -- And now a word from our sponsors...

Hi y'all! I'm so happy to welcome Kelly back for Makeup Monday. I couldn't agree more: Fuck you, breast cancer, Kelly's going to kick your bitch ass!

Cheers,
Cindy
____________________________________________
And now, a word from our sponsors…

 

This week’s Makeup Monday is being brought to you by the following:

The letters F and U,

The color pink,

Whatever material they make those breast cancer ribbons with,

(and last but likely the biggest…)

My boobs.

 

Confused? It’s ok, I’m feeling a little “WTF????” myself these days, too. Let me explain. Ya know how every now and then life has to come along and kick you in the ass? Well, let’s just say my rear must’ve had a big target on it! On Friday, I found out I have invasive breast cancer. The real deal. Like, the kind that will require a bunch of breast surgery, radiation, and probably chemo. And I’m only 41. And I have a husband and a 9-year-old. And a job. And a to-do list a mile long. I really don’t have the time or patience to play host to little space invaders in my size D tits. Unfortunately, I really wasn’t given a choice.

 

After receiving the diagnosis on Friday afternoon, I spent the rest of the day crying, freaking out, and pacing around the house. Saturday was not much better except that I added some wine to my day. When I woke up Sunday morning and looked in the mirror, I realized that it was time to woman up, find my usual humor and positive attitude that I use to deal with any situation, and put some damn makeup on so I could step outside my home without frightening small children. So that’s what I did… except that I put some Visine in my red and puffy eyeballs first.

 

(disclaimer: I had to use this random picture I found on the internet because the real picture of me was so scary that it made my computer crash when I tried to upload it)

 

I’ve always loved how beautiful the right color pink makeup can be. That said, I’ve always hated how difficult it is to wear pink eye makeup without looking like a lab rat with a contagious eye disease. That is, until I learned a trick… It’s called ‘the barrier method’. Please note that despite the name, I’m still talking about makeup, not birth control. The idea is this: if you love a certain color, but the color doesn’t really suit you, find a color that does and use it as a barrier. For example, I have a yellow shirt that I adore, but it looks awful against my skin. However, when I add a black scarf the whole look is fantastic! The yellow looks great with the black; the black looks great with my skin tone. Same concept for eye makeup. The trick is to not put pink tones right up to the upper or lower lash line. You’ll see how I used this technique by applying black liner to the inner rims of my eyes so I could sport some beautiful breast-cancer-beating pink on my eyes. This way, I can look spunky, determined and ready to do battle instead of like the poster child for Insomniacs Anonymous.


 

As usual, I created this look using Younique cosmetics- namely Moodstruck Minerals Pigment Powders (eyeshadow) and Moodstruck Minerals Blusher, which are 100% natural, chemical-free, mineral-based pigment powders, free of talc, oils, preservatives, perfumes, synthetic dyes, and parabens. All of their products are naturally based, most are gluten free, and many are vegan. I first applied “Vulnerable” over entire lid, “Curious” below brow bone and in inner eye corners, and the outer "v" of my eyelid was a mix of Heartbroken and Stunning (blusher). For lips and pink part of ribbon, I mixed “Stunning” with some regular chapstick and applied to lips/drew ribbon on eyes with a lip brush. The white(ish) part of the ribbon was done using “Innocent” applied with a damp liner brush. For my inner eye rim and upper lash line, I used “Devious” applied with a damp liner brush (a damp q-tip will work just as well, by the way). Also “Devious” to accent the ribbon. On my cheeks, I just used a tiny bit of Stunning blusher to pull the whole look together. It looks like a lot, but it really didn't take a ton of time. The pigments are so vibrant that it's pretty easy to get creative and create any look you want! (Note: I am NOT an artistic person at all, which goes to show that ANYONE can be successfully creative with makeup!)

 

So there you have it. I’m armed and ready to do battle with breast cancer and WIN! The boob gods don’t know who they’re f-ing with! In fact, I might just use this opportunity as a way to replace my D-cups with cute, perky B’s that won’t look like grapefruits fell into my armpits when I lay on my back . Gotta find the good in things, right? And I’m counting on all you ladies to help me! Here’s how:

Feel your boobies. A lot. Better yet, have someone else feel your boobies. Check for lumps and bumps while you’re at it.

Get your yearly mammograms when you hit old age like me, lol.

Go like my Facebook page “Younique by Kelly Duckworth” so we can stay in touch and share fun and silly things, makeup-related or not! Whatever goes!

Come check out my products at www.youniqueproducts.com/youniquebykellyduckworth . If you see something you like, please place an order! The biggest customer favs are 3D Fiber Lash mascara and Moodstruck Minerals Pigment Powders (eye shadow). For the entire rest of this month (April), I will donate 15% of my profits to BreastCancer.org!

 










Monday, April 7, 2014

#Makeup Monday -- Winter is a Whore


Happy Monday! First, I’d like to give a big shout out to my friend, Spring! Hello? Ummm, hello?? Wait, you’re still nowhere to be found? Well, that’s because your nemesis Winter is being quite the over-dramatic, attention-seeking whore of a season and is trying to ruin the lives of humankind. Ok, maybe it’s just trying to ruin my life, not yours. My bad.

 

Anyway, last week I was tricked into thinking it was finally Spring. This lasted approximately 3 hours, but it was a darn productive 3 hours for me! I went into Spring cleaning mode and dumped the contents of my makeup drawer in the middle of the bed so that I could begin the task of organizing. After about 30 seconds of staring at it, I had a moment of clarity and dumped it all back in the drawer and closed the drawer. Let’s face it: no matter how well you organize your makeup drawer, you’re just going to have to do it again in a few weeks. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m somewhat disorganized. Again- my bad.

 

After treating myself to a glass of wine (hey, that drawer organizing stuff was exhausting!), I moved on to my second Spring ritual… Shaving my legs. Confession: I’m a little lazy about my leg hair during the winter. I mean, I’m wearing long pants all winter so what does it matter? Besides, it helps add an extra layer of warmth and I save money on knee socks. Unfortunately, my hubby doesn’t really find my Winter “Chewbacca legs” very sexy. His term, not mine. And my son, who was sharing the covers with me while watching Saturday morning cartoons, accidentally brushed his leg against my leg and proceeded to ask me if I was wearing “Velcro pajamas”. His term, not mine. Fine, I got the hint and started the arduous task of razor-wrangling for the warm weather. That’s what took up the rest of the 3 hours.

 

When I got out of the shower and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I cried. I’m totally kidding. I didn’t cry. But I did realize that I had that pale, washed-out, end-of-winter appearance. So, I once again dumped my makeup drawer in the middle of my bed and said aloud “Screw you, Winter!” and decided to play with some Spring-y makeup looks. It was way better than Spring cleaning, by the way! Here is the first pic:




That picture always cracks me up!

 

Anyhoooo…I tried a few looks- The first using some pretty pinks to help bring about that warm-weather glow. It’s a look you can wear anytime, whether going to the grocery store or going out for a nice dinner. Although, I usually look more like the first picture (above) when I go to the grocery store! In this picture, all makeup was by Younique and is 100% natural, chemical-free, mineral-based pigment powders, free of talc, oils, preservatives, perfumes, synthetic dyes, and parabens… ‘Sassy’ Moodstruck Mineral Pigment for my eyes, ‘Stunning’ Moodstruck Mineral Blusher for my cheeks and my lips. To turn the powder blusher into a lipgloss, I just mixed a small amount into some petroleum jelly. Two birds, one stone.

 


Don’t get me wrong. I love the way the right color pinks can really bring out a woman’s features, when worn correctly. (By the way, more to come in a future Makeup Monday about how to select/wear pink tones in makeup without looking like a stoned lab rat with conjunctivitis.) It just didn’t scream “SPRING” as loudly as I wanted.

 

So, you know me- I had to kick it up a notch and get a little creative. It’s funny because I swear I can’t even draw a stick figure that would be recognizable in a game of Pictionary, so the only way I seem to be able to express my artistic side is by drawing silly things on my face. Seems about right, huh?

 

My favorite thing about Spring is when the trees first start to bloom. In case you are wondering- my second favorite thing is when I remember to take my allergy medicine and then I can actually see the trees starting to bloom without my eyes being swollen shut from tree pollen.

 

I started by taking a damp eye shadow brush with a fine tip and applying the branches of my ‘tree’ using a dark color (try Younique’s Moodstruck Minerals Pigment Powder in ‘Corrupted’ or ‘Infatuated’- again, all the pigments are100% natural, chemical-free, mineral-based pigment powders, free of talc, oils, preservatives, perfumes, synthetic dyes, and parabens.) The cool thing about nature is that it is not perfect, so don’t panic if your lines aren’t perfect and, in fact, appear as though they were drawn on by someone with a severe case of Parkinson’s. You are going to be able to distract from those imperfections once you add your blooms.



For your blooms, you can choose whatever strikes your fancy! I chose pinks, greens, and a dab of yellow (‘Sassy’, ‘Crushed’ and ‘Gorgeous’ respectively- all by Younique) and applied my blooms to the ends of my branches using a damp q-tip. Crazy easy! I also had a drugstore brand white eyeliner pen that I never have reason use that I added to the center of a few of the flower blooms, just for dimension. Add a few flowers to the hair, and… viola!

 




So, ladies, welcome to spring! It had better stick around for a few weeks, or else I will channel my inner Chewbacca and Velcro myself to Mother Nature herself until she gives in

 

All products can be seen and purchased at www.youniqueproducts.com/youniquebykellyduckworth and I’d love, love, love it if you’d drop by and “like” my Facebook page at Younique by Kelly Duckworth.

 

Let me know what else you’d like to see!

 

Xoxo,

Kelly