Monday, October 28, 2013

#MondayMusings - Baseball might be the death of me

If you follow my FB and Twitter posts, you already know I've got big mama bear love for my son and it's because of this love I'm sure his participation in Little League Baseball is going to kill me. No, I'm not exaggerating. I'm talking Redd-Foxx-this-is-the-big-one kind of kill me.

It's been a heck of a season. Some losses, some wins and some of those wins were awfully close. As the level of competition increases, so does my reaction to the games.

T-ball, really who gets amped up about t-ball games? The kids are all so cute and no one keeps score so it's fun for all involved, including the parents. During his coach pitch seasons, I got nervous every time he was at-bat because I knew he would be upset if he struck out. Machine pitch brought a whole other level of frustration for him, but he rose to the occasion though my anxiety at each game grew. He is now at the AA level, which is referred to as "kid pitch" because it's the first level where the children pitch to the batters. My son pitches, plays first base and is the clean-up batter. While I'm so very proud of him, I am really alarmed by my emotional reaction to the games.

When he's on the mound, I hold my breath with every pitch. When he's at-bat, my heart thunders in my ears, a silent mantra of please don't strike out echoing in my mind. One game, we were two runs behind literally in the last minute of the game and my son was the next batter. The balls and strikes piled up. He faced a full count, two outs and I could...not...watch. I averted my gaze until I heard the crack of the bat. As he rounded first and second and the winning runs came home, I jumped up and cheered. Then I promptly sat down because I nearly passed out. Seriously, yellow haze, lightheadedness, my stomach dropped to my feet. I was shaking as I sank into my folding chair.

How freaking absurd? I am not a Victorian lady in a corset who swoons at the slightest shock and yet I almost hit the deck in public. The medic hubby explained it to me as a vasovagal episode due to a sudden onset of strong emotions. Yeah, whatever.

Last night they played a very exciting quarterfinal playoff game. Again, I laughed, I cried, I cheered and I know my blood pressure soared at times. It's not because I would be upset or disappointed if he didn't do well--he knows I'm proud of him no matter what--but I knew he would be upset, disappointed and angry with himself if he let his team down.

I want so badly to shield him from the pain and regret of failure, but I also know that's part of life. Hey, we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. Still, failing sucks. The only thing that sucks more is watching someone you love more than life itself suffer.

Yes, I know it's only Little League and yes, I know no one's life depends on anything he's doing right now. Still, it's so hard to watch him flap his wings and try to take flight all on his own. But I will watch and I will celebrate his successes and I will pick him up when he falls...even if it kills me.

You hear that, Elizabeth? I'm coming to join ya, honey! ;)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wendy Soliman





Wendy Soliman is a British author, brought up on the Isle of Wight, who now divides her time between Andorra and the west coast of Florida. She shares her life with her long-suffering husband and a rescued dog of indeterminate pedigree, named Jake Bentley after the hero in one of her books. Both Jakes are handsome mongrels with independent spirits and wild streaks.
Wendy has over forty published books to her credit, ranging from Regency romance, (her first love), to contemporary women’s fiction and marine crime mysteries. She also writes erotica for SirenBookStrand under a pen name.
When not writing, Wendy enjoys walking miles with her dog, reading other people’s tomes…oh, and she’s on a one woman mission to save the wine trade from the world recession. She figures someone has to do it!

TO DEFY A DUKE

Elias Shelton, the Duke of Winsdale, has a duty to produce an heir. Completely indifferent, he leaves his mother to invite all the most suitable candidates to a house party at Winsdale Park, promising to choose one of them as his duchess. Returning home after several days of pre-nuptial carousing, Eli falls from his horse and badly injures his head. His life is saved by a mysterious woman who fascinates and enthrals Eli.

Athena Defoe and her young twin sisters are hiding from their past in a tumbledown cottage on Eli’s estate. Athena refuses to place her trust in Eli, but he is equally determined to repay her by protecting her. To do so he must first discover what or whom she is so afraid of. With attention focused on her by the duke’s interest, Athena’s whereabouts becomes known and danger visits her quiet corner of Hampshire.

Caught up in the whirl of his mother’s entertainments, Eli must race against time to save the woman he’s fallen in love with, even if she isn’t duchess material…


EXCERPT
“Mrs. Defoe.” Eli offered her an engaging smile. “Welcome to Winsdale Park.”
Athena continued to stare at him, looking totally stunned. She swallowed several times, deathly pale and so bewildered, Eli felt wretched for having deceived her. She made no response to his greeting as a kaleidoscope of conflicting emotions passed across her lovely features, none of them especially encouraging. She was not only shocked, but angry with him.
Very angry.
Eli wondered if she knew just how endearing she looked when in a high dudgeon. She was simply magnificent in her justifiable rage and clearly not the slightest bit intimidated by Eli. Silence sucked the atmosphere dry as she continued to fix him with a penetrating gaze of focused fury. Susan, equally bewildered by the chilly silence, cleared her throat and sent Eli a speaking look. It broke the spell, and Athena finally acknowledged his presence.
“Your grace.” She imbued the words with sweet sarcasm as she dipped an elegant curtsey.
“I am very glad you were able to come to my sister’s aid.” He waved a hand around the cavernous barn, treating her as though she had just spoken with the upmost civility. “She was quite at her wit’s end over all this.”
“I was?” Susan looked surprised to hear it.
“I am no longer sure I can be of any help,” Athena said, a determined jut to her chin.
“Susan, I believe Mother needs you.”
“No she doesn’t, Eli. She is discussing menus with Mrs. Coulton.” Susan sent him an impish smile and leaned her chin in her cupped hand, making her intention to remain with them patently clear. Eli supposed he couldn’t blame her. Susan, the little minx, would be eaten up with curiosity about his connection to Athena. “I should only be in the way.”
“You’re in the way now,” Eli replied, through gritted teeth.
“Me?” She elevated her brows in innocent surprise. “You must excuse me, but Mrs. Defoe and I are in consultation about decorating this barn. If anyone is in the way, it’s you.” She settled herself on a stool and sent him a sweet smile. “But don’t mind me. If you have matters to discuss with Mrs. Defoe, I shall find something to occupy me.”
“Mrs. Defoe.” Eli held out an arm. “Do me the goodness of taking a turn around the lake with me.”
His goddess sent him a lofty glance from beneath her fringe of thick, curly lashes. “Do I have any choice in the matter?”
“Absolutely you do,” Susan replied before Eli could. “No one ever dares to say no to Eli. He will bark at them, and intimidate them if they attempt it, you see. But you are my guest, not his, and it’s high time someone put him in his place.”
“Susan, are you absolutely sure there isn’t something you ought to be attending to?”
“Thank you for your concern, Eli, but I believe my morning is completely my own.”
“Mrs. Defoe.” Eli again proffered his arm, an edge to his voice. “Please oblige me.”
She inverted her chin, expelled a disgruntled sigh, and moved elegantly across the space that separated them. Eli felt victorious when she placed her small hand on his sleeve, even if she did so with obvious reluctance.
“Pray excuse me, Lady Susan,” she said. “I will not be gone for long.”
“Take all the time you need, Mrs. Defoe,” Susan replied with a mischievous smile. “I shall busy myself ordering the cutting of the blackthorn and elderberry branches you suggested.”
“Make sure they know to cut them as long as possible. These decorations need to be on a large scale in order to show to their best advantage.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Eli led Athena away in the direction of the lake. She looked straight ahead, but he could sense the fury in her fixed expression and rigid stance. What else could he have expected? He was unsure how to proceed or what to say to win her around, and so thought it best to wait for her to break the brittle silence that sprang up between them. It was several minutes before she did so—several of the longest minutes of Eli’s life.
“I dare say you enjoyed a good laugh at my expense,” she said through tightly compressed lips.
“Quite the contrary, I do assure you. I’ve never felt more obliged to anyone.” He sent her a candid smile. “You saved my life, and asked for nothing in return. I don’t think you understand how remarkable that is.”
“Why did you not tell me who you were?” She stopped walking and glared at him, a rich burn turning her eyes the colour of molasses, her cheeks flushed delightfully pink with indignation. “Or did you prefer to entertain yourself by making me look foolish?”
“What would you have done if you had known?”
“Sent word here at once.”
“Precisely.” He started walking again, compelling her to remain with him by placing his free hand over the one still resting on his other arm. “And I couldn’t have that.”
“You would rather sleep in a…just a minute.” She snatched her hand from beneath his and covered her mouth with it. “The repairs to the cottage, selling our lace so easily, this request for help from your sister…that was all your doing?”
“Yes, I wanted to repay you in some small way.”
“So Miss Dawson wasn’t impressed by our lace.”
She looked endearingly discouraged, and it took every last vestige of Eli’s self-control not to pull her into his arms and kiss away the hurt.
“Oh, I believe she was,” he said in a languid tone. “She ought to be. Even I can see that it is exquisite, and I’m told she has every expectation of it selling well.”
“It should. It’s far cheaper than it ought to be.”
“Why is that?”
She shook her head, and it was obvious she didn’t plan to say anything more.
“This may come as a surprise to you, your grace, but I was perfectly happy to help you, just as I would have helped anyone I found on the ground bleeding to death. You didn’t have to interfere in my life in some obscure attempt to repay me.”

Find More of Wendy’s Books at www.wendysoliman.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Cindy Reads: TAKING THE GARDNER by T.J. Masters #M/M #Erotica

**There are a few minor spoilers in this review**

What drew me to this book other than the delicious cover and the BDSM theme (which you all know I enjoy), is that it is a M/M story actually written by a man.




Blurb:

Mourning the sudden loss of his parents in a car crash, experienced Dom Eric Broderick escapes London society and his high-pressure law firm and retreats to Glebe House in Pittlesburne, a small village in Buckinghamshire. He tours the nearby woods and the charming village, but it’s really the guesthouse’s garden he’s taken with—or, rather, the gardener.

Tom Bestwick maintains the grounds of Glebe House for his fiancée and does odd jobs around the village. With little experience outside Pittlesburne, Tom finds fulfillment through his true passions, rugby and art. He has just one unrealized desire—one the guesthouse’s new occupant would be happy to help him with.

Late one night, while walking through the garden to clear his mood, Eric spies Tom enjoying a BDSM video starring two men. Having a sub to train might just help Eric forget his troubles, but as their feelings deepen, the real world intrudes. Eric can give Tom everything, but not until Tom decides where he’s meant to be.

____________________________________

For readers who are put off by stories about infidelity, this is not the tale for you. Personally, I'm okay with it. 1. It's fiction. No fiancées were actually betrayed in the making of this novel. 2. Infidelity is part of life. It happens like that sometimes. Not saying it should, but it does.

TJ Masters's writing style is fluid and natural. I very much enjoyed his voice though I would've liked the pace of the story to move along a little more quickly during the first third of the book, but once it got going...it got GOING. The sex scenes are smoking hot. There's a lot of variety, showcasing the BDSM lifestyle without getting lost in it. I enjoyed that though Eric is a Dom and one of a certain amount of notoriety, he is also human, allowing tenderness and vulnerability to shine through. Sometimes Eric's reactions are inconsistent with what one would expect of a Dom, but I thought it gave the character depth. Real people are inconsistent.

Masters did a wonderful job showing the heart-wrenching dilemma that Tom finds himself in and the fear and excitement of crossing some very daunting sexual boundaries. Megan's reaction in the end is also portrayed with a great deal of maturity. All in all, I very much enjoyed this book. If you're looking to put some M/M or BDSM heat in your week, pick this one up today. I'm looking forward to reading more work by TJ Masters.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3547&cPath=55_747

http://www.amazon.com/Taking-the-Gardener-ebook/dp/B00B9DHD1Q/

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Help! Cyborg poop dilemma. #WrittenMyselfIntoACorner #StrangeWritingIssue


Yes, I said cyborg poop. Stop laughing...I'm serious.

Here's situation:

I'm doing an erotic gothic horror retelling of Frankenstein, set in the future using a cyborgnetic body instead of pieced together corpses. The main character is Dr. Stine. Her husband was in a rock climbing accident and has such severe brain trauma that even with all the advances in science, he's in a vegetative state. The hospital is pressuring to her pull the plug because they've reached the time limit indicated in her husband's living will. Dr. Stine decides to regrow her husband's brain, program it with all his memories (which she can do), and place it in her cyborgnetic project's body.

Here's the problem:

If she does not alter the cyborg to looks like him and she tells him what she's done, there are all sorts of psychological issues that would plague him. I did some research on current day face transplants, limb transplants, etc. It's nearly impossible for someone to process this type of change very well so I'm thinking a whole new body would be exponentially more traumatic. There's no way then to get to the romance, sexy, sexy part.

If she does alter the cyborg to be an exact replica of her hubby and doesn't tell him what she's done, then there's the whole eating, drinking, eliminating waste issue. If hubs doesn't know he's a cyborg, he would expect to get hungry, eat a few times a day, get thirsty, go pee a few times a day, poop once in a while, LOL.

I'm leaning toward the exact replica route, but if the project originated as research for the military, there's no reason to have a fully functioning digestive or even sexual system. I've figured out the sexual part of it (other research she did for cyborgnetic genitalia for sexual dysfunction, damaged sexual organs, etc). But why in the world would she need to make a cyborg poop?

And yes, I have taken all my medications for the day...why do you ask? Any and all suggestions are much appreciated. Man, sci-fi is hard to write. I'm going to work on my next contemporary erotic romance today. Sex and love I understand :)

Cheers,
Cindy

Friday, October 18, 2013

Demonic Revenge Part 9, #RomFantasy #BadGirl @DenyseBridger @CindyJacks

Demonic Revenge continues:
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6/ Part 7/ Part 8

Part Nine:
The others stood transfixed, watching the green, black and red flames that spiraled into the air where the Azazel had fallen. Fresh demon spawn streaked toward his beloved. Rémy sprinted to the beasts now holding Denysé captive. He twirled the sword in a figure eight, slashing the first demon across the torso; it dissolved into ashes immediately. The last he ran through, a strong thrust to its core. It, too, crumbled into a pile of black dust. All the demons had now been vanquished. As soon as she was free, Denysé charged into his arms, clinging to Rémy as if never to let go.

“I’m here, ma chère, I’m here.” He pulled her into an embrace, dropping the sword and falling to his knees.

Covering her lips with his, he kissed her, desperate to absorb her into every fiber of his being. She sobbed going limp in his arms. He sheltered her. He would always shelter her as long as had breath in his body.

Je t’aime,” he whispered, rocking her.

“I knew you would come―even though you shouldn’t,” She hiccupped out the words.

Brushing the hair back from her face, he pressed his forehead to hers. “I will always come for you. Never doubt that.”

She cradled his face in her hands. “I never did.”

A soft clearing of throats interrupted their reunion. Loath to do it, he glanced up at the faces peering down.

Aimé put a hand on Rémy’s shoulder. “Shall we get out of this Gods forsaken place, so that you two might continue your reunion…in private.”

Denysé peered up at Rémy’s youngest brother. “Oh yeah.”

Vasya picked up the Aducător de moarte, wielding it over his head and then slamming its point into the ground. A flash of pure light and white flame exploded from the sword. The landscape melted around them and, suddenly, Rémy and the rest of them found themselves in the garden behind the church, dawn just beginning to break. While the rose color of the sunrise was undoubtedly beautiful, the way Denysé gazed up at him, a faint smile on her face, was the most magnificent sight he had ever seen.

* * * * *

The litter of empty champagne bottles and breakfast plates surrounded the triumphant group. Room service had struggled to keep up with the large order, but now that the shifters and Cindy and Denysé had sated their hunger, it was time to close this horrifying chapter of their lives. Though the parting was bittersweet, Cindy knew something unparalleled had occurred the past couple days.

Matéo dipped his head to Vasya, clasping the wolf prince’s forearm. “I meant what I said, Viscount. Clan des Quatre-Frères is at your service, should service be required.”

“I appreciate the sacred covenant we have forged. I may call on you one day, but trust I will never do so lightly,” Vasya clapped the Lord Alpha’s shoulder.

“Aimé.” Vasya turned to the youngest brother. “You command respect beyond your years. Your calm under duress and sacred powers do you much credit.”

Aimé embraced Vasya briefly and then turned to leave with Matéo.

Rémy, Denysé secured at his side, collected her belongings.

“You will excuse us if we take a few days to…Rémy groped for words.

“Reconnect,” Denysé grinned up at her big, bad wolf. “We’re off to Château Arcadia.”

“But of course,” Vasya bowed and drew Denysés hand to his lips. “I will confer with you after you…rest.”

She nodded, kissing Vasya’s cheek.

Hugging Denysé and Rémy, Cindy said through tears, “We totally missed the book signing.”

Both women dissolved into laughter, their chosen wolves exchanging confused glances.

“Have fun. I love you both.” Cindy embraced Denysé and Rémy again.

Rémy leveled his gaze at Vasya. “Be kind to nôtre écrivaine. Or I will hunt you down and there is no force in heaven or on earth that can protect you.”

“I believe you, warrior.” Vasya lowered his head, a sign of respect Rémy seemed to recognize. “I will treat her as the lady she is.”

A curt nod passed between them.

Once the alliance had dispersed and all the crying and hugs were done, Cindy gazed up at Vasya.

“Alone at last,” Vasya murmured, brushing her hair from her forehead and tucking it behind her ear.

“Yes.” She chuckled, suddenly aware of the hulking male before her.

“Shall we pick up where we left off?”

“No.” She shook her head. “We are different than we were before.”

He smiled. Perhaps it was the truest smile she had ever seen from him. “We are different, but that change only bonds us more.”

Resting her head on his chest, she sighed. “Very true. I’m not sure how I’ll ever understand all of this.”

“Then do not endeavor to understand; simply move forward.

She glanced up at him, his dark eyes gleamed with desire. Need flamed in her abdomen, racing between her legs.



No more words, he grazed his mouth along the edges of hers. Her core turned to liquid, her legs suddenly weak.

Cupping her face in his hands, Vasya nipped and licked at her tongue as he guided her blindly to the bed. She pulled at his shirt tails and popped open the buttons. Huffing his approval, he shook off the silken shirt and shimmied her dress over her head then slung it to the floor. She let her fingers trip along is bare, taut abs.

In a frenzy, they stripped each other of the remaining clothes, leaving a trail of garments in their wake. His lips engulfed hers and they tumbled onto the bed.

He brushed locks of hair from her shoulders and covered her face with kisses. His hand straying between her legs, he stroked at the soft folds of skin. Though already wet and she was more than willing to give herself to him now, Vasya was nothing if not patient and thorough in his seduction.

A thick finger plunged deep inside her and she gasped at the heat of it. More kisses absorbed her guttural moans. Then, his mouth seared a path down to her nipples, lingered there a while and continued down to her pussy. Long strokes with his tongue teased the length of her slit until she practically begged him to enter her. Moving up her body with the same unhurried pace, he grazed his lips over her bare form, each of his light nibbles and caresses sending the skin beneath it into an involuntary shivers. She trembled below him, her chest rising and falling with even panted breath.

His shaft pressed against her opening, an implicit question which she answered by lifting her hips, drawing him deep inside of her. He let out an elongated sigh and pressed his pelvis flush against her abdomen. His mouth hovered just above hers; his exhalations surrounding her with his rich scent.

Their bodies moved with fluidity, her legs splayed wide to draw all of him inside. Hands clinging to the back of his neck, she clamped her eyes shut, pleasure flooding her core. His urgent rhythm spurred on burning pleasure and tension. She took several deep, slow breaths and sank into the moment. Only Vasya, only his flesh on her flesh. Their bodies together and the private world that unison created.

He hooked his arms under her shoulders, letting his mouth travel from her lips to her neck and breasts then made a return path to her mouth. Gasps she knew to be her own, but that sounded as though they came from some far away voice rumbled inside her chest. Pressing their foreheads together she opened her eyes and found his steady onyx gaze.

She watched his face. Every ripple that moved through her, every new height she experienced, his expression reflected that sensation. Even as her mouth fell open to gulp in air, his gaze didn’t falter.

Tremors began as mere quivers, but built in intensity and power. Her sharp cry rang out as an orgasm marked the peak of all that she felt. And still, his stare captured her. Her body curled and shook against his and—as she’d grown to expect of him—he sheltered her, even after her quaking calmed.

Moving his grasp to her hips, Vasya hung on to her, pushing himself closer to coming. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead, but he paced his panting and didn’t slow. A final thrust forward and arched back heralded his climax. She held on to his shoulders and breathed with him, her eyes wide open, drinking in the sight of her lover and the ecstasy that gripped him.

Drained, but aglow, he relaxed his body against her. Between heavy exhalations, he nuzzled her jawline and neck. Slowly, he withdrew and eased to the side of her, hooking a leg over her thighs. A finger traced her bare breast, teasing the still hard nipple.

“Vasya.” She pressed her lips to his shoulder.

“Don’t speak, bella.”

“But―

Placing a gentle finger to her lips, he quieted her. “I know our realms are worlds apart. Enjoy the moment. The peace that you feel, I feel it too.”

A sigh shaking her ribcage, she nuzzled his strong chest. He was right. All she had to do was be here. Now.

As she drifted off to sleep, she stroked the locket still hanging around her neck.

________________________

Read the sexy finale tomorrow on Denysé Bridger's blog: boundpassion.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Demonic Revenge - Part 7 #BadGirl #RomFantasy @DenyseBridger @cindyjacks

Demonic Revenge continues:
Part 1  /  Part 2  /  Part 3  /  Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

Part 7:


Closing the door to the adjoining room, Vasya hovered there as if contemplating something serious.

“Is everything okay?” Cindy asked, fear and anxiety twisting her stomach and muscles into knots.

“No, but it will be.”

A knock at the door startled Cindy until she realized it was room service with the wine she had ordered. Vasya answered, signed the bill and then ushered out the hotel employee. Once he had uncorked the pinot noir, he sat down next to her, two glasses in hand.

“Here, bella. To soothe that expression of worry.” He gave her a goblet.

She took a sip, the lush, fruity sweetness of the pinot coating her tongue. “Delicious. Thank you.”

Prego.” He put his glass to his lips, drawing in a little of the ruby red wine then nodding in agreement. “Usually I’d give it more of a chance to breathe, but things being as they are…”

His dark gaze seemed to bore into her soul, his every movement graceful, elegant and yet all male. A flush crept up her chest, engulfing her cheeks and ears.

Clearing her throat, she set down her glass. “You said you wanted to talk to me?”

Si, bella. I wanted to be sure you are prepared for your journey to the Underworld.”

“What?” A jolt of electricity coursed through her body. “I wasn’t aware you planned to bring me along.”

He placed a hand over hers.

“We need you. Only a woman who is in…” He seemed to grope for the right words― “who is in season can read the incantation. Not to mention the brothers and I will be a little occupied battling the demon himself.”

In season? She furrowed her brow, but then his meaning dawned on her. “What? How do you know that I’m…? That I’m, you know, at that point in my cycle?”

Hell, she hadn’t even thought about it, but when she did the math, it had been two weeks since her last period and yes, she should be ovulating right about now. In season, as he called it. Lord help her.

“I can smell it.” He leaned closer, eyes closed, inhaling as if savoring the scent.

Cheeks flaming hotter, she pulled her hand away and smoothed her hair.

“Lovely.” She reached for her wine, taking a gulp.

“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“I’m not. You just caught me off guard.”

“My apologies.” He sipped at his wine, scooting closer and reaching for the laptop. “Denysé recorded the spell as part of my story.”

He turned the computer over, inspecting it from all angles. Fumbling with the screen lock, he lost his grip on the machine and it clattered to the floor.

“Better let me do that.” Cindy grinned, picking up the laptop.

Grazie. I’m afraid that contraption is beyond my realm of experience.”

She booted it up and opened the file, scanning for text written in an ancient language. Once she found it, her eyes grew wide.

“How in the world am I going to memorize this? I can’t even read it.”

“I’ll help you. It’s Romanian.”

“Of course it is.” She sighed.

Pe toţi zeii din lumina,” he began, the rich language dripping from his lips like honey.

She did her best to recreate the words exactly as he spoke them. An hour later, she had most of the incantation memorized.

“When you finish reciting the spell once, you must take the dagger we borrowed from the church, cut your hand and draw a circle in blood on the floor.” He took her hand, making a slicing motion across her palm with one finger. “Then you must recite it again. Once you finish, exit the circle. The brothers and I will shepherd the demon into the circle and then finish him.”

“Okay.” Cindy nodded, tears springing into her eyes.
 
This was all so damn overwhelming. Demons, Romanian spells, blood, the Underworld and the uncertainty of Denysé’s fate. What if Cindy screwed up the words of the incantation? What if she died? An image of her son’s smiling face flashed through her mind. What if she never saw him again? At this thought, a sob erupted in her chest.

Bella, why do you cry?”

“I’m afraid, terrified, actually.” She rose, stepping away from the sitting area.

Pacing near the bed, she chewed at her thumbnail, tears leaking down her face. “I can’t do this, Vasya. I’m sorry. I love Denysé and I want to help her. I do. But…”

But what? She let her words trail off. She knew there could be no doubts, no reservations. This had to be done. If she walked away, would Azazel really unleash hell on earth?

Vasya crossed the room and stood in front of her. Gently, he pried her thumb from her mouth, running his own thumb over her lip. Plucking a handkerchief from his pocket he dried her tears.

“Shh…do not be afraid.” He placed a hand to her cheek, the warmth of his palm quickening her pulse. “I promise I will let nothing harm you. And I suspect the des Quatre-Frères would die for you as well.”

Staring up into his endless black gaze, she knew he spoke the truth. In his embrace, her fear subsided little by little, another emotion replacing it. Throat tight, heart pounding, she drew in his scent. Something about his natural musk calmed and aroused her at the same time.

As if he’d read her mind, Vasya dipped his head, brushing his lips over hers. An electric charge shot through her core. Melting against his hard musculature, she closed her eyes.

His tongue teased open her mouth, seeking out hers. He tasted sweet like the wine they had shared, his exhalations grazing her cheek. Goosebumps dotted her arms, a shiver drawing her nipples into taut buds. Tangling her fingers in his hair, she pulled him deeper into the kiss.

With ease, he boosted her up, wrapping her legs around his waist and carrying her to the bed. Desire pulsed between her thighs, her pussy echoing her heartbeat.

As he laid her back, she felt the solid weight of his body pressing down on her. He felt so good and she needed this, needed him. This very well could be her last chance to indulge in such pleasures.

Letting her eyelids flick open she sneaked a glimpse of the handsome wolf prince who was about to make love to her. God, he was gorgeous, all angular European bone structure and smooth, ageless features.

Slipping a hand up the skirt of her dress, he hooked a couple fingers in her panties. Mouth to her skin, he planted delicate kisses along her thighs and calves as he slid her underwear down her legs.

Suddenly, the door banged open.

“What in the name of the Gods do you think you’re doing?” someone shouted.

It was Rémy. She’d recognize that roar anywhere.

Vasya scrambled to his feet, covering her with a blanket.

“I could ask the same of you, whelp.” The elder wolf grasped the front of Rémy’s shirt and yanked him off his feet.

Rémy punched and kicked at Vasya as the they tumbled to the floor.

“Stop it, both of you!” Cindy struggled to her feet and righted her dress, though she knew there was little she could do to keep the shifters from tearing each other apart.

Matéo and Aimé burst into the room, immediately wrenching Rémy off of Vasya.

“Have you lost your mind?” Matéo snapped at his still seething brother.

“He was… he was violating nôtre écrivaine.” Rémy took another swipe at Vasya.

“He wasn’t violating me.” Cindy stepped between Rémy and Vasya. “He was comforting me.”

A sneer twisting his handsome features, Rémy shook his head. “Is that what he calls it? Seducing an innocent woman on the eve of battle?”

“Rémy.” Cindy put a gentle hand to his heaving chest. “I’m not some naive child. I promise you, Vasya didn’t do anything wrong.”

“If you say so.” Rémy folded his arms over his chest. “I’d expect you to be more discerning with whom you take to your bed.”

Vasya smacked Rémy across the face. “You will watch how you speak to the lady.”

They jostled Cindy aside, ready to attack each other again.

“Enough!” Aimé grasped Rémy and Vasya’s wrists. “Very soon, we must all work together to save Denysé. You would do well to put aside petty squabbles. Calm yourselves.”

Cindy had seen Aimé do this before. A powerful empath, he possessed the ability to manipulate the emotional state of others. Little by little, the fight drained out of the posture of the two combatants.

“Thank you, Aimé.” Cindy kissed his cheek.

Aimé nodded. ”De rien.”

“If you two are finished trying to kill each other, I suggest we finalize our plan to battle Azazel.” Matéo motioned to the adjoining room. “ Shall we?”
________________________________
To be continued tomorrow. Find part 8 on Denysé Bridger's blog: http://boundpassion.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Health-a-versary to me!

Yep, it's been two years today since I had a fateful consultation with my doc during which she leveled with me:

"Either lose twenty-five pounds or stay on the road to pre-diabetes. It's up to you," she said.

I'll be honest, at the time, I wanted to tell her to go f&*k herself. Even as she sat there going over my elevated fasting blood sugar with me, she had a tummy roll peeking over her waistband too. Gaining weight was just part of getting older, right? I mean, I'd struggled with my weight my whole life and I was losing the battle. I was thirty-eight then and I had no illusions about forty being the new thirty. I was past my prime and that was that.

After the anger subsided, I sighed and leveled with her. "It's so overwhelming. The weight gain has been steady since I hit thirty-six and I don't feel like I overindulge all that much."

We went over my pattern of lessening activity--especially since I became a full time writer--and my overeating triggers: stress, celebrations, anger, boredom. All right, I found a lot of reasons to self-medicate with comfort food. Here's me in October 2011:


Okay, okay, it's hard to focus on my big butt in this picture, but it's one of the few pics of me at 202.5 lbs. At 5'8" cresting 200 lbs put me firmly in the category of obese and I hated photos of myself.

By incorporating simple activities such as walking and dancing into my daily routines and strictly monitoring calories consumed vs. calories burned by October 2012 I had lost 35 lbs.

 


I liked the way I looked and I loved the way I felt. Getting healthy and strong became addictive. I've lost a total of 52 lbs and I recently started a cardio-sculpting regime to build my lean muscle mass.

Two years has passed since I started this journey. I hardly recognize my reflection and I have to say at forty I'm in the best shape of my life. Took the pic below just this morning to celebrate my healh-a-versary, something I plan to do every year from now on.


Though my life is busier than ever, I've learned to take time for myself and make my health and fitness a priority. The challenge now? Maintenance. ARGH! But I have faith in myself. I can do this.

I know lots of folks taking the same journey later in life and to all of them I say keep fighting and never give up! We deserve to feel happy and healthy.

Have your own weight loss tips, tricks, successes or foibles to share? I'd love to hear them :)

Cheers,
Cindy