Thursday, January 29, 2015

What does a 35 year old woman....

......and a 26 year old man have in common?

The answer is chemistry. Lots and lots of chemistry.

Check out some of that chemistry right here....then click the link at the bottom of the page to grab YOUR copy of Then & Now, book 3 in the This & That Series.

“You’ve never tried my scrambled eggs.” He smiled confidently. “Harold’s are good. But mine? They’ll change your life.”
            “What do you put in them? I mean, if I am going to see the face of God in scrambled eggs, I want to know what makes them so good.”
            “Wait,” Mason said, taking another bite. “Weren’t we talking about you being out of practice, sexually speaking?”
            “Yes. But wait.” I waved my hands. “Go back just a sentence or two. What makes your eggs life changing?”
            “Cream cheese. The whipped kind.”
            “I see.” I held out a bite of crepes for him. “Try these. They’re amazing.”
            Mason closed his eyes as he chewed. “Oh dang. Those are good. Is that loganberry?”
            “I’m impressed you know that.” I took a bite of my own. “And the cream cheese trick.”
            “My grandmother used to cook them that way.” He shrugged. “I learned a few tricks. Not many, though. Because I still can’t make brownies from a box.”
            “It’s an acquired skill,” I admitted, giving him another bite. “These crepes are orgasmic. Do you realize that?”
            “Well, they’d better be, since you’re insistent on taking those baby steps.” He plucked up a chunk of mushroom from the omelet container. “Hey, speaking of orgasms, what makes you think you’re out of practice? Don’t they say it’s like riding a bike?”
            I rolled my eyes. “Shut up.”
            “Come on,” he said with a grin. “I don’t think you give yourself enough credit, Candace. You’re beautiful, smart, active, and sexy as hell. I think being alone for two years has shattered your confidence.”
            “Maybe so.” I used a napkin to wipe at a string of cheese that had attached itself to the edge of his lip, and he grabbed my hand. My pulse spiked. “Maybe I just need to jump back on the bike? Fall a few times. Scrape up my knees and elbows until I figure out how to get my… my…”
            Kissing the inside of my wrist, Mason whispered, “Mojo?”
            I cupped the side of his face, relishing the way his whiskers prickled my palm. “Yeah. My mojo. My confidence. My skills.”
            “You know you can practice on me anytime, right?”
            I let my hand drop and reached for another bite of waffle. “Says the twenty-six year old.”
            Growling, Mason grabbed me around the waist, and rested me back on the couch cushions. His body was suspended above mine, as I lay there with waffle poised on the end of my fork. “Hey!” I laughed.
            He bit the waffle right off the fork and chewed it proudly. “Why do you always do that?”
            “Do what?” I wriggled to be released, but he wasn’t budging. Not that I minded.
            “Turn it into an age thing?” He frowned down at me. “Why are you so hung up on my age?”
            I stopped moving and just looked him in the eyes. They were beautiful. The same shade of blue as his pool. “Because you’re too young for me.”
            “Who says?” Mason took the fork out of my hand, and set it on the table. Then he lowered himself gently so that he was lying on top of me on the couch. “I thought dating someone younger was a status symbol for women these days. Like a right of passage or something. They make movies about it.”
            “I know, but… I’ve never been interested in being a cougar.”
            He brushed a piece of my hair back from my face and looked at my lips. “What about now?”
            I bit my lip. “I’m seriously considering getting back on that bike.”
            He seemed to like that answer, because his mouth pulled back into a slow smile. “So…” he whispered, brushing the end of his nose against my cheekbone. My heart chugged. “In all actuality, I’m doing a public service by helping to reacquaint you with your skills. Right?”
            I couldn’t help but laugh. “If that’s how you want to look at it.”
            He shifted, bringing our chests together tightly. My skin flared like the couch beneath us was in flames. “Then, Mrs. Chang, I am at your service.”
            “You live to serve.”
Without even thinking about it first, I wound my arms around his neck, pulling Mason’s entire body flush against mine. He was so solid and strong.
            His eyes dropped to my mouth. “It’s my duty to serve.”
“And protect?”
He licked his lips. “Uh huh.”
            “Mason?” I whispered. My whole body tingled with anticipation. This was it. I’d spent the day flirting yesterday, now it was time for a kiss. This was the natural progression of things. This is a good thing.
            I looked at his mouth. “How long are we going to keep making cop puns before you kiss me?”
            His eyes were heavy lidded. “Are you giving me permission?”
            I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. I was too turned on. And nervous. But, mostly turned on. I just nodded instead.
            “Well, then…” His words faded, and he brought his mouth to mine.
            The touch was as soft as silk, and light enough that I might have missed it had his tongue not tickled the inner edge of my upper lips ever so slightly. Heat spread from his body to mine, as I sank into the kiss. Swirls of light and color danced behind my closed eyelids, and my heart pounded in my ears. Mason’s lips closed down on mine with the gentleness of someone building a card house that could topple in at any time.
Maybe he thought I was fragile. Maybe he was right. But I’d waited two years and two months for someone to kiss me again, and this was undoubtedly worth the wait.
Then—just as softly as it had started—it ended. Mason pulled his lips from mine, and gazed at me with soft eyes, the air between us thick with haze. I just lay there, breathing deeply, blinking up at him.
“Baby steps,” he whispered.
I nodded. Every nerve ending in my body was like a hot wire. I’d forgotten how good a kiss could feel. How even a kiss as small and simple as that one could reach into a person’s chest and breathe life back into their soul.
“Thank you.” My voice was barely audible over the sound of my heart beat.
“Anytime, ma’am.” He pressed a quick kiss to my forehead, then sat up. “Now that I’ve had something to eat, I’m beat.”
I propped myself up on my elbows. There were dark circles under his eyes, and he looked ready to topple over. “I suppose our date’s over now.”
“Yeah.” His eyes searched mine, and the air between us crackled. “Probably for the best.”
“All right.” I swallowed back all of the random, insecure questions I suddenly had for him. Are you ticked we stopped at just one kiss? Are you coming back? Will we go out again? Do you really like me, or is this some sort of older woman fetish you’ve got happening?
He smiled, and crinkles appeared in the corners of his eyes. “I’m headed home to bed, then.”
I’ve got a perfectly good bed upstairs.
I pressed my lips together. I wasn’t ready for that. Not yet. But good grief… it was tempting. The broad planes of his chest were visible through the paper-thin cotton of his undershirt, and I had to ball my hands into fists to keep from touching his pecs.
“Your leftovers,” I said, standing up and gathering up the half empty containers. “Let me—”
“Save them.” He took my hand. “We’ll finish them after my next shift.”
“Okay.” I faced him with no idea what to say next.
After a minute of silence that seemed to stretch for way too long, Mason cupped my cheek. His touch sent thrilled shivers skating up and down my spine. “Goodnight, Candace.”
I smiled. The day was just beginning, but for him, it was coming to an end. “Good morning, Mason.”

He grinned, and the dimple in his cheek sank in. “Oh, and by the way… I’m always here if you want more practice.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How to be someone's favorite friend.

Want to be someone's most treasured friend?

Give them books. People love people who give them books the most. This is a proven fact.

You could start by gifting someone the This & That Series Box Set for only $4.99.

You'll save $1 off of the cover price of the individual books, AND you'll make your friend laugh and cry. Probably at the same time. It's a win/win.

It's got Lexie's story...single woman finds herself knocked up AND in love with her obstetrician. Marisol's story...snobby chick is knocked off of her self-appointed pedestal by a gritty, surly mechanic with an attitude. And, of course, Candace's story...after finding herself widowed with three small kids, she finds herself "passing time" with younger neighbor, Mason, who wants way more than a distraction.

Yup. Three full length contemporary romances. 800 pages. Booyah.

So take my friendship advice today, and give the gift your friends will love you for.


Gratitude challenge week 5...

This week's prompt:

Something someone gave me.

This year for Christmas I got some seriously awesome PJ's.

Now, for those of you who don't know, authors live in their PJ's. Granted, I have a day job, too, but when I'm not working as an EA in special needs classrooms, or in Lunch Lady Land, I am always in my PJ's.

This particular pair is a plaid onesie. With a butt flap.

A butt flap!

(which can be very difficult to wrestle ones way out of when one has to pee in the middle of the night in the dark. I'm just saying.)

But the truth is, I love these PJ's. Hard.

The way to my heart is clearly through some new jammies.

I would spend day and night in them if I could. But society frowns on that.


Friday, January 23, 2015

So....what would you do...

If you were single, and found yourself pregnant.........then accidentally found yourself falling in love with your obstetrician...who also happens to be dating your bestie?

Yeah. Quite a conundrum.

Look at the pretty new cover....isn't it delicious?

Lexie Baump went through that exact situation. Want to know what happened? Grab your copy of Baby & Bump for only 99 cents today!

Read this excerpt, then click the link below....

Bile filled my mouth, and I clamped my fingers down, trying to hold the vomit at bay as I charged through the living room. Frustrated cries of several men rang out when I temporarily blocked their view of the flat screen. I clambered up the stairs to the second floor bathroom, and was met by a commode tightly shut with a child lock. My body heaved forward as I fumbled with one hand to unlatch the lid, but it kept landing back down on the seat with a loud thunk. With each unsuccessful attempt, my stomach lurched, filling my mouth with vomit.
Lurch. Thunk. Lurch. Thunk.
This whole pregnancy thing was for the damn birds.
Finally the lid broke open, sending pieces of the plastic lock flying in all directions.
Woops. Guess I’ll be replacing that later.
I buried my face in the porcelain bowl and relieved myself of everything I’d either tasted or eaten since the third grade. The sound of the football game raging downstairs was drowned out by my coughing and sputtering.
“You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?” I asked my little kidney bean, my voice echoing against the dirtied water.
“You okay?” A deep voice asked.
I felt a warm hand touch my back, and I nodded, my forehead bumping against the seat. “Yeah. Just feeling a bit under the weather. Sorry to ruin your party, Bri.”
“It’s not Brian.”
I lifted my head the tiniest bit. Crap on a stick, it was Dr. Fletcher Haybee—in all of his denim shirt wearing, tousled blond hair glory!
Fumbling to flush the toilet, I snatched a piece of toilet paper off the nearby roll to wipe my mouth. Leave it to Brian and Candace to invite the gorgeous obstetrician who just had his face in my junk over for a football game and cold cuts.
“I…uh…uh…” My mind was blank. Completely blank. I’d never been caught vomiting by a hot doctor before.
Fletcher knelt down and took hold of my wrist. “Having a lot of nausea?” He grew quiet and looked at his watch. It occurred to me that he was taking my pulse.
“If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought my child hates me, and wants to slowly kill me from the inside out.” I leaned against the toilet and blew my hair off my forehead. It felt like I’d thrown up at least two major organs.
He chuckled, the sound low and gravelly. It made my empty and twisted belly heat up like a fire pit. “Are you able to keep anything down at all?”
Sweat soaked the hair at the nape of my neck, and I suddenly realized how terrible I must have looked. Curse my ultra-white skin and freckles. Whenever I’d thrown up as a kid, I turned a pasty shade of gray, and my nose got splotchy and red.
I shook my head. “Not really. Although I ate a tic tac yesterday, and I don’t think that came back up.” I looked at the now clean water in the toilet wearily. “Though it may have just now.”
Again he laughed, then put his finger under my chin to raise it. Fletcher’s bright, aqua blue eyes searched mine for a few beats. “Your pulse seems all right, and your pupils aren’t dilated. I think you’re going to be fine.”
“Great.” Using another piece of toilet paper, I wiped the back of my neck off. “How long does this morning sickness last? And why do they call it morning sickness? Shouldn’t it be called ‘all damn day’ sickness?”
When he smiled, it showed a row of bright, white teeth. They were nearly perfect, with the exception of one of his canines, which was just slightly out of alignment. It was the most endearing flaw I’d ever seen. I was surprised at how squirmy he made me feel, considering I’d just finished puking my guts out.
“A lot of women get morning sickness all day long. The good news is, it should subside around twelve to fourteen weeks,” he said. “My ex wife got so mad at me when her morning sickness kicked in. She said it was a cruel joke from God.”
Ex wife? My ears perked up and I sat up straighter. Well, as straight as I could between the bathtub and the toilet. “You were married, Dr. Haybee?”
            He sat down Indian-style across the bathroom rug from me. “Come on. Call me Fletcher.”
“Oh, I don’t want to be disrespectful.” I looked down at my tee shirt and brushed at a wet spot on the chest. Dear Lord, I hoped it was water and not puke. I reached up to the countertop where the kid’s toothbrushes were set up, grabbed the tube of toothpaste, and squeezed a dollop onto my finger.
He shrugged. “What’s disrespectful about it? I’m going to deliver your baby. That’s pretty intimate. We may as well be on a first name basis.”
“Okay, then, Fletcher. Did anyone call you Fletch growing up?” I smiled before starting to scrub my teeth with my finger.
Rolling his eyes, he picked at a dark piece of lint on the fluffy white rug. “Yeah. It drove me crazy.”
I rose up onto my knees, spit the toothpaste into the sink, and quickly rinsed my mouth out. “I can relate. Everyone has called me Bump for as long as I can remember. Geez, even my high school principal called me that.”
“No kidding?” Fletcher grinned.
“Wish I were.” I pulled my knees to my chest, and leaned against the cool porcelain of the tub.
            “There’s a certain amount of irony in that, you know.” When I gave him a strange look, he nodded at my midsection. “Beings you’re pregnant, and will soon have a bump.”
            “Thanks for reminding me.”
“Don’t feel too bad,” he lamented cheerfully. “My last name is Haybee, and I went on to become an obstetrician. All my nurses call me Dr. Baby.”
I giggled. “Dr. Baby?”
He blushed. “It’s pretty stupid.”
“I won’t argue with that.” I blew at a stray strand of my red hair. “So how many kids do you have, Dr. Baby?”
            “Just one. A daughter. Martha.” Fletcher’s eyes sparkled when he said his daughter’s name.
            “Martha? That’s beautiful. You don’t hear that name very often anymore.”
            “Thanks. It’s my mother’s name. Have you thought of any names yet?”
            I shook my head. “Ugh, no. I’m still processing the fact that I’m going to be a single mom.” I chewed the inside of my cheek and hoped he wouldn’t ask the inevitable question, but no such luck.
            “Is the father involved? Will I be meeting him at one of your appointments?”
            My teeth came down on the soft inner skin of my left cheek. “No.” When his light eyes probed mine for a second, I added, “Let’s just call this immaculate conception, okay, doc?”

            His brow relaxed. “Hint taken.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gratitude challenge week 4...

This week's prompt is...

A family member.

I decided to go with the hubs.

I love him. Mucho.

He is all of the best qualities that I happen to lack. He is the reason we're "making it."

He reminds me of Kevin James in Hitch.

Which is reason enough to love him.

In addition to that he's responsible, kind, patient, witty, wicked smaht, thoughtful, silly, and funny.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Still wondering if you even WANT to read Marisol's story?

Yeah. She was a pain in the A**. But in her book, Book 2 of the This & That Series (Apples & Oranges) you get a pretty good picture of what made Marisol so....sooooo....


Here's an excerpt....check it out, and click the link below if you decide to give her story a whirl.

“Marisol, come inside. Now,” my nanny, Hanna, scolded me from the front porch. She, too, was mad at my dad. Not just because he’d loaded up his Jaguar convertible with suitcases without offering me so much as an explanation, but because in leaving my mother, he was also leaving her, and she’d had big plans on being the new Mrs. Vargas.
Too bad for Hanna. My father had bigger plans. And those plans didn’t include his self-obsessed wife, the nanny he’d been boinking for a year, or his daughter.
“No!” I bellowed—I was a screamer, a trait nobody who knew me enjoyed—running down the stairs to the circle drive in front of our palatial house. My father was just starting the engine on his dark green car. “Daddy, wait!”
He either didn’t hear over the sound of purring motor, or he was ignoring me He slid his aviator sunglasses onto his tanned face with the casual ease of a man leaving to play golf with his buddies. Except that he was abandoning his family for a life of less responsibility and more excitement in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
            The car started to roll forward, and I pawed at the shiny green metal with my hands. “No! Daddy, no!” I cried, stumbling in my bare feet. The cement was hot in the southern California sun, and it burned my soles. “Wait!”
            He hit the brakes, and the jaguar screeched to a halt. “Marisol? What the hell are you doing?”
            “We haven’t played with the kitty yet.” I wiped my nose with the back of my hand, and limped to the driver’s side. “You said we’d play with her. You promised.”
            My father took his sunglasses off and rubbed his eyes tiredly. “No. I said you could play with her. You, Marisol. I’ve got to go”
            He’d not yet said so, but I knew he was leaving for good. “Take me with you,” I begged. “I’ll bring the kitty, and we can all go on vacation.”
            “I’m not going on vacation.” His mouth pulled into a line. “And you’re not coming with me.”
            Tears rolled down my face, and my nose was running. But I didn’t care. “Why not?”
            “Because your place is here with your mother.” He glanced in the rear view mirror. “She needs you. She’s sad.”
            My mother wasn’t home. She’d gone to a spa for the weekend with her friend, and I’d heard her telling Hanna she’d never been happier. “She’s not sad, Daddy. But she’ll be mad when she comes home and finds out you left.”
            Even at seven years old, I’d been acutely aware that my mother had better things to do than raise a child. Especially one who’d given her stretch marks that had to be surgically corrected. That’s why Hanna was there to take care of me.
            “Come back inside,” I pleaded, tugging on the door handle. It was locked. “We can play with the kitty, and then you and Hanna can go swimming in the hot tub again. I’ll be a good girl, and go watch TV.”
            My dad winced. “I don’t want to swim with Hanna anymore.”
            I looked over my shoulder at my nanny, who was glowering at him with her arms folded across her chest. “Then you can give her the day off, Daddy. Come back inside. We still need to name the kitty. I vote Puffy. Or Sparkles. What do you want to call her?”
            He laughed, and for a millisecond, I thought things were looking up.
            “Freedom.” He slid the glasses back onto his face. “I want to call her Freedom.”
            “That’s a silly name, Daddy.” I smiled, even though I could feel something bad looming. “Can you come inside now? P-please?”
            He shook his head. “No, baby. Not this time.”
            “Can I go with you?” My voice got higher. “I can pack super fast.”
            “They don’t let kids come to Fort Lauderdale, Marisol.” His voice was low, resigned. And I knew his mind was made up. “It’s a grown up city.”
            I thought about what it would be like when Mom got home, and it was just her and me in the giant house. She was going to be annoyed with me, so much more so than she already was. The only time we were ever together was when we had company over and I needed to come down in a pretty dress for everyone to see. At least when my dad was around, he noticed me. Sure, most of the time, it was to tell me not to leave my toys around, or that I needed to be quiet because I was giving him a splitting headache. But being noticed and getting hollered at was way better than being ignored all the time.
“I don’t want to be alone.” It was all I could think of to say. “If you leave, nobody will talk to me.”
            “Go let Hanna take care of you. She’ll make you some chocolate milk.” Dad threw a glance in his rearview mirror. “I gave her a big, fat bonus check, so she’s not going anywhere.”
            “Daddy, I—”
            “I gotta go, Marisol.” He put the jaguar in gear. “Back away from the car.”
            “Please don’t go.” I wept, snot creeping out of my nose. “Please don’t leave me.”
            He grimaced at me. “Pull yourself together. You’re face is a mess.”
            “I love you, Daddy.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt embarrassed. We didn’t talk like that in our family. Mushiness like that only existed on television shows like the one mom used to be on. Squaring my shoulders, I said it again. “I said, I love you, Daddy.”
            He sighed. It was a long, drawn-out, irritated sigh that was almost drowned out by the purring car engine. I waited for him to say it back. For my dad to tell me that he loved me too, and that he would send for me as soon as he got settled in Florida. Maybe even a kiss or a hug, to top things off.
            But alas…Carlos Vargas didn’t do emotion.
            “Go tell Hanna to wipe your face, Marisol. Nobody wants to look at an ugly little girl with snot on her face.”
            And with that, he peeled away from me, spitting a hot burst of exhaust out of the tailpipe, and leaving me standing in the sun alone.
            I stood there crying for what felt like forever. Hanna didn’t come to get me, or to wipe my face or make me chocolate milk like my dad had promised. I stood there until my mother’s car rolled into the driveway, and she emerged looking refreshed and shiny from her time at the spa. She’d taken me by the hand and walked me into the house, through the living room, and into the oversized kitchen, where I’d promptly been passed off on Imogene, the cook.  Hanna gave her notice later that night, and I’d gotten a new nanny, Sara, the next day.
            Freedom and I spent all of our time together after that, clear until I ran off to college in Washington state, where I’d not been allowed pets in University housing. By that time, Freedom was arthritic and barely mobile, which is why she’d drowned when she’d been pushed into the pool water with the end of a ladder.
            I’d cried for days.

            It was only the second time since my dad left.