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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Is It Time for the Apocalypse?

...fictionally speaking that is.

Do movies like World War Z and Hunger Games, along with television favorites such as The Walking Dead and Revolution portray a new hunger for apocalyptic and/or dystopian type fiction? Are readers ready to embrace the dark side of apocalyptic stories? Can the end of the world be romantic?

Heck if I know. Except of course for the last question, to which I'll respond with a resounding HELL YES!

When I wrote my first post-apocalyptic romance I was fully convinced romance readership was ready to embrace zombies and such post-apocalyptic horrors as irradiated hell hounds. I reasoned that, because I personally was fascinated by the dark eloquence of disarray and seat-of-the-pants survival, surely there were tons of other people who were too. The movies and television shows I mentioned above are/were rabidly popular. So it seemed logical to me that books along the same lines should be too, right?

Maybe not so much. Although I met face to face with tons of zombie lovers at the recent Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together, and have taken part in many animated discussions of The Walking Dead on Facebook, I seem to be having trouble finding and engaging fans of this type of fiction online. I even created a Facebook group for apocalyptic romance: Apocalyptic Romance Clubhouse

Maybe it's just me? It's possible I'm not looking in the right places... But my outreach on this particular sub-genre has had only limited success.

I do believe there is a growing affection for this type of fiction. It could be that the visual arts are just a step ahead of the digital and print arts in this area. It takes a certain type of skill to portray the rich hopelessness and decay of an apocalyptic world in a book. It's so much easier to be pulled into pictures and visual presentation. Maybe that's all it is. I don't believe it's the darkness of the subject matter. It's hard to go darker than the premise behind The Hunger Games. And, yes, before the movie the books did very well on their own. I can't help thinking that, aside from the skill of their author in portraying a world that was shocking in both its outlandishness and its possibilities, it was that very shock value that drew people in...particularly when you consider the books were written for a young adult audience.

I believe the apocalyptic-type dark paranormal genre is on the cusp of gaining great popularity. I don't know why I believe that, other than the fact that it is larger than life...rife with possibilities for terror and brief but invigorating opportunities for wonder and good.  Here's how I put it in a recent blog post:

There's more to it than just the zombies. I love the idea of starting the world all over again. Hit a switch and, overnight, everything is different. The world is raw, dangerous, and all the rules are gone. There's an emotional zing you get from an apocalyptic situation. Nothing is as powerful as living each day, hour, or moment as if it's your last. Because it really might be. Relationships are deeper, good times seem brighter, and you learn to cherish every small good that crosses your path. Yeah, you deal with a LOT of ugly. But the beautiful in life shines just that much brighter by contrast. I think that's really what I love about end of the world entertainment. It boils us down to our most basic needs and behaviors and reminds us what is truly important in well as what's just noise and fluff.

Whether apocalyptic romance will teeter on the cusp of popularity for endless months and years, a.k.a science fiction romance, or eventually plunge into widespread acceptance remains to be seen. In the meantime I'll keep writing apocalyptic fiction because I LOVE it. And maybe, someday, someone will even buy the books. LOL

Apart they are pain and death...apocalyptic. Together they are fire and magic...destiny. 

He’s a warrior, a bounty hunter in a world turned upside down. She’s his latest bounty...a creature of dark power. As everything in their world implodes, they must work together to set it right, while the fire burning between them threatens to consume everything in its path.

5 Shooting Stars! Redz World Reviews:  "...reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet with a post world war feel. Even the secondary characters were unforgettable... Tall, Dark and Apocalyptic by Sam Cheever will engage you on multiple levels; many you won't even realize until long after you finish the tale."

BUY LINKS ( in case, you know, you want to jump ahead of the crowd teehee):

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Interview of Author Victoria Adams

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Victoria Adams.

Latest Book: A Guy and A Girl
Buy Link: Exclusively at -

I'm Victoria Adams. I live in Ontario, Canada with my husband and pets. Daughter grown up and is now teaching. I like to garden, cook and study Raqs Sharqi (Egyptian belly dance).

I've been writing since I was little. Being an only child, long car rides were filled with making up stories in my head about the people I saw out the car window. When my daughter was younger, I made up stories that she suggested. I'd say – Once upon a time there was a…. She'd shout an answer – chicken! And the story went from there. Great creativity exercise as it turns out. Now, my writing style has taken a split to contemporary romance for adults and contemporary romance for new adults.

Q: How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
A: By having a minor panic attack. I'm an indie author and I knew nothing – NOTHING – at the time. My hand was shaking and I had to talk myself into pressing the Publish button. Then I think I wanted to faint or scream or run and hide. Not a really classy reaction, I know, but that's what happened.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: I'm the most undisciplined person – a bit ADD - gets up and goes to get a Diet Coke – what was I saying? Oh, yea. I'm not the role model for the dedicated professional writer, but when I sit down to write, my focus is like steel. Takes a lot to break it and I can spit out a 5,000 word chapter in one sitting.

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: I'd say it's the same goal – get my name out there. This is a tough business and I know I'm a small fish in a very large ocean, so it's a never ending process.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: Other than Diet Coke, I really don’t' have food near my laptop. I'm a klutz. I'd end up with whatever buried between my keys. My Diet Coke is far enough away from the keyboard that I can smack it and not drown my laptop. On the other hand, I'm a dancer. (I know I just said I'm a clutz – what can I say – I'm complicated.) I taught dance for a long time and still take Raqs Sharqi (Egyptian Belly Dance), so if I listen to music, my head will start working on choreography rather than the scene/chapter I am working on.

Q: Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: No. I love each of the covers my fabulous cover artist – Fantasia Frog came up with.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Write what you want to write. Learn the rules of the craft and then bend them to suit your writing voice.

I don’t like being stuck in a box and I'll bend and break rules. I have a personal saying – Picasso wasn't always Picasso. At one point he was just a guy name Pablo painting weird pictures.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Breathe. Life doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: Mystery. I love mysteries. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Rex Stout, I have all their books. But I haven't a clue – pun intended – on how to write one.

Q: Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
A: I'm a panster – I don't plan out my book. I let it write itself. What often happens is I have the beginning and end written before the middle, so it's the challenge of making the middle go where I want it to. I actually have one book – not published yet, that I knew the last line of the book before I knew the characters or anything else about the story.

Q: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
A: From Book 2 of my Circles Trilogy – Circles Divided - Isn't it great to be in love?

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Christmas – family gets together and for a couple of days the whole world seems a bit friendlier

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I have a second degree black belt and I'm really, really, REALLY shy.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A cowboy. Nobody had explained the boy/girl issue with that yet.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Chocolate.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Any moment I'm getting a hug from my daughter. She doesn’t live in Canada so we don't get to see each other very often.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Diet Coke

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Hot summer days. Being Canadian you might think I'd like cold winter nights- but you'd be wrong. I was meant to be sitting on a beach, under a palm tree, sipping ice cold drinks handed to me by hot sweaty hunks.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: I really don't have a bucket list. I'm just living life. I've touch a moon rock. I've touch ancient fossils. Touched meteorites from space. Been in a submarine. Flown a plane –even landed it. Flown in a helicopter. Been to Europe. The Caribbean. I'm a wife, a mother and a published author. What else is there?

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: I don't know that this superpower has a name – but the ability to eat donuts and not have them stick to my hips!

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Blog – Victoria's Pages of Romance –
FaceBook -
Facebook Author Page -
Facebook - Circles Trilogy Page -
Twitter –
Website -
Google+ - Victoria Adams
Wattpad -
Plus – Triberr, Amazon Author, LinkedIn, SocialOmph, Goodreads etc

Lies, deceits and secrets - not a good way to begin a relationship.

After an ugly past forced Hunter Connolly to escape to Europe, the talented hockey player is back in North America and determined to land a position with a professional team. But he can’t hide from his past forever, especially when his beautiful classmate, Chelsea, forces him to reexamine his life. Soon, hockey is not his first priority anymore.

Chelsea Henderson is a bright co-ed working towards her dream of being a professional dancer. She forms a unique friendship with one of her father’s newest recruits and would love nothing more than to take it to the next level. However, there’s just one small problem. He doesn’t know she’s his coach’s daughter.

Amid the deceptions, danger lurks closer than they could ever imagine. Will fate contrive to rip the young lovers apart? Or will Hunter and Chelsea have their shot at love?


Professor Campbell smiled. "Good, now that everyone is here, welcome. Today is a get-to-know-each-other day. I don't like impersonal classes where no one knows each other. I feel a class should be like a team. Since you'll be criticizing and analyzing each other's works, you should get to know one another. Let's go around the table, starting with you." He pointed at Chelsea who sat directly in front of him. "Name. Major."

"Uh...I...uh...I hate going first." A flush trickled up the side of her neck.

Out of the side of his mouth, Hunter whispered, "Better you than me."

She glanced at him. "That was supportive."

Hunter's heart skipped a beat.

"My name's Chelsea, and I'm taking this and a Composition and Repertory class."

"I speak for all of us when I say - a what?" Hunter looked at her sideways.

"A dance credit."

"Do you wish to be a dancer?" The professor folded his hands and placed them on the table. Chelsea blushed and nodded. He pointed to the person on Chelsea's right.

"My name is Steven Francis, and I'm pre-med."

Hunter listened as several other students listed themselves as pre-med, pre-law, business administration and economics. He shook his head. I'm so in the wrong place. But with Chelsea being here, this class could be liveable. At last it was his turn. "Hunter Taylor, and I don't have a declared major."

"What do you do?"

"I play hockey. I'm trying out for the Vipers."

The other five girls sat up taller, fixed their hair and smiled.

"At least our two dreamers are sitting next to each other." A smirk spread across the face of the pre-law student.

Hunter glanced at the table then back at the pre-law student. "You don't dream about becoming a lawyer? You don't dream about pleading a major case in front of the Supreme Court?"

The classmate refused to make eye contact with Hunter.

"Everyone has dreams." Hunter jerked his thumb towards Chelsea. "Chelsea's and mine may not be academic ones, but they're just as hard to achieve as yours are. Don't put me down 'cause I want to be a hockey player. I may have to hire you to represent me when I negotiate my deal."

"An interesting mix of students." The professor scanned the group with eyes lit up with humour. "A dancer, a few lawyers, doctors, business people and a hockey player who can defend himself against a lawyer."

"I play offence. We're the aggressive ones."

Anything else you’d like to add?
I'm a NA contemporary romance author. NA meaning new adult as in 17 yrs of age and up – not new ADULT as in erotic romance. As a romance group, you probably all know that, but some readers might not.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The History of Sunglasses #CaraMarsi #RB4U

The History of Sunglasses

Sunglasses are cool. Think Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.

 I love to wear sunglasses, not only because they’re cool, but because my eyes are sensitive to sunlight. Usually, blue eyes are more sensitive to light, but my brown eyes are, so this gives me an excuse to wear sunglasses whenever there’s even a hint of sunshine. Also, sunglasses hide a multitude of sins, like dark circles, bags, bloodshot eyes, droopy eyes.

I thought sunglasses were a modern invention and decided to do a little research. Turns out, sunglasses have been around since earliest times. The ancient Inuit people wore “glasses” made from walrus ivory. These had narrow slits to block the harmful rays of the sun. Here’s a pair below:

The Emperor Nero liked to watch gladiator games wearing glasses with polished emeralds for lenses. Sunglasses made of flat lenses of smoky quartz to protect from glare were used in China in the 12th century or maybe sooner. Judges in ancient Chinese courts wore shaded glasses to conceal their facial expressions while questioning witnesses. Clever people, those Chinese.

None of these ancient glasses were used as corrective lenses. In 1430, vision-correcting tinted glasses were introduced into China from Italy. Around 1752, James Ayscough began experimenting with blue- or green-tinted lenses, believing they could correct some forms of vision impairment. Harmful UV rays weren’t a concern.

Glasses tinted with yellow-amber and brown were prescribed for syphilis sufferers in the 19th and early 20th centuries because those with syphilis were sensitive to light. In the U.S, in the 20th century, the military was at the forefront of sunglass technology.

Movie stars helped spread the popularity of sunglasses in the early 20th century. Some said they wore the glasses to avoid recognition. Another explanation is that they had red eyes from the powerful arc lamps that were used when filming.

Sam Foster introduced inexpensive, mass-produced sunglasses in 1929. He sold them under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth’s on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.  By the 1930’s sunglasses were all the rage.

In the 1930’s the Army Corp of Engineers commissioned Bausch and Lomb to produce lenses that would protect pilots from high-altitude glare. In 1936, Edward Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, patented polarized lenses. Ray-Ban produced aviator-style glasses using polarized lenses.

In the 1960’s a clever advertising campaign by Foster Grant made sunglasses chic. We’ve also come to realize that sunglasses do more than protect from glare and make a person seem a little mysterious and alluring. The best sunglasses are those that protect against the sun’s harmful rays.

Now you have it—the history of sunglasses.

When I sold my first book, I treated myself to a pair of high-quality Revo brand glasses. Since then, I’ve bought two more pairs of designer glasses from the discount sites Gilt Group and Rue La La. I’ve tried to score a pair of Chanel from those sites, but that’s proved elusive. The Chanel glasses are sold out within minutes of going on sale. Because I now need “corrective” lenses, I have a pair of bifocal sunglasses that I wear most of the time. Since my designer glasses aren’t prescription, I wear them when I’m wearing contacts; otherwise, I might look nice, but I won’t be able to see a darn thing.

What about you? Do you love sunglasses? Do you wear them?

Sources: Wikipedia,,


Don’t forget that Sizzling Summer, a limited edition boxed set of three full-length romance novels, is still available for 99 cents until after Labor Day.

How hot do you like your romance? 

A special three-book set
Lynn Reynolds
Ann Whitaker
Cara Marsi

Love Capri Style by Lynn Reynolds
A sexy, sun-drenched romance set on the island of Capri. Can inept journalist Amanda Jackson get an exclusive on playboy Eric Greyford, or will she wind up as just another item on the gossip pages of his newspaper?

Dog Nanny by Ann Whitaker
When vet tech Julie Shields agrees to train two delinquent poodles to save them from becoming doggies of divorce, she doesn't count on having to harness her desire for hunky pilot Nick Worthington.

A Catered Romance by Cara Marsi
There's more than business brewing between two old high school flames.
Stubbornly self-reliant Mary Beth Kendrick needs financial backing to keep her catering business cooking. A looming corporate buyout forces her to accept help from Tom Sackett, the man who broke her heart and left her with no appetite for love.

Available exclusively at Amazon and BN.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Interview of Author Carly Carson

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Carly Carson.

Latest Book: Duke of Devonwood
Buy Link:

Carly will probably never marry into the British nobility, as she is already happily married to Traveling Man. But there's nothing wrong with a little fantasy in one's life, right? She has three children, who provide a daily dose of reality, even though they are almost perfect (just ask them!). Carly loves traveling, outdoor sports, reading, and visiting with friends and her large extended family.

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: In the beginning, I only worried about writing. Now I spend a lot more time marketing, which I don't enjoy as much, but it's a necessary part of the business.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: I find it more entertaining to write characters who are different from myself. But I know my value system is present in my main characters because that would be hard to change too dramatically. I do look to some of my zany relatives to provide interesting traits for my secondary characters.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: I don't need comfort food for my writing, but I do need it for my life. (Who doesn't?) Lol. I use music for inspiration, but I need quiet to actually write.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Amateurs wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work. (Stephen King quoting Philip Roth) This is true in any profession.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Sometimes, you just have to jump. Jump in and do it. Now.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: I've toyed with the idea of writing an erotic romance. But I'm put off by the fact that a couple of men we know have made comments to my husband such as: "You must have a very satisfying home life." This is after announcing they've read the "hot" parts of one of my books. Really? Do they think suspense authors murder folks in their spare time? It's fiction, not fact. My husband doesn't mind, but I do.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: I use real incidents all the time. For example, I have a novella in an anthology (Breakaway) in which the hero is a dolphin trainer at a water park in Mexico. I used my own experience swimming with dolphins to write that. (Try it if you ever get the chance!) In another novella (Love Charm for Carlotta), the heroine goes to Menemsha Beach on Martha's Vineyard with the hero. I never did what they do there (lol), but I have visited that beach to watch the memorable sunset. That's where I got the idea for their romantic tryst. (On my website, you can read my blogs about our sunset dinner on Menemsha Beach, and also my dolphin swimming experience.)

Q: Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
A: The beginning is always my favorite part. I always have the ending drafted before I actually get there. The middle can be a slog.

Q: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
A: Eclipse of the Heart: "No matter what he says, his thoughts will revolve around stripping you naked and bending you over his desk," Jessie said.

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head?
A: Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas? I have many, many stories in my head. I have snippets and chapters for a lot of them, and I keep it all on my computer. I'm often surprised at what I find in there!

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: I love Christmas. I love buying the tree and trimming it. (We always get a large tree, and we have many ornaments with sentimental value.) I generally enjoy buying the presents (but not wrapping them). I love having a big family dinner on Christmas Day (usually about 25 people, although we aren't always at my house). I love the excitement of my children on Christmas morning. Most of all, I love carrying on traditions started with my parents that I'm now passing on to my kids.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I have an MBA in Finance. I've been in a mine in Chile.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A writer. Sorry, that's a bit of a cliche, but it's true.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Potato chips.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Playing with my cousins during our long summer vacations in Maine.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Lemon Buzz-so tart!!

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Chilly winter nights because we ski all day and then in the evening, we have friends or family over. We sit in front of a roaring fire and play board games. So much fun!

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Attend the weddings of all my children.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: I guess I would like the ability to eat whatever I want and remain slender and healthy. I won't be greedy and ask to give up exercise.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Author Website:
Author Blog:

Miranda's father left her inheritance under the trusteeship of a Duke of England? Did he not realize this is the twenty-first century? She is certainly capable of managing her own money. More importantly, she needs that money to start her business, and to keep her family together.

She is not about to sit around while some arrogant Duke tells her what she can do with her own inheritance. Luckily, she's determined, hard-working, and a touch devious. She vows to do whatever it takes to foil the Duke...

The Duke of Devonwood doesn't want more dependents. With an entire dukedom to run, plus his father's second family to manage, he has too many people hanging on his coattails already. But this headstrong American, Miranda, won't take 'no' for an answer. In fact, she soon has his other dependents conniving with her—and against him.

He could handle the problem...if only she weren't so enticing.

Drawing a deep breath for courage, Miranda grasped the edge of the pool. Devonwood's rhythm faltered, just for a second, but she knew he was watching her.

She pulled herself out of the water, naked as the moonlight.

He stopped swimming.

Although she was pretending to be unconscious of his movements, she was well aware of the moment when the water stopped rippling, indicating that he'd halted.

She sauntered over to the lounge chair. His eyes were glued to her, something she knew with one hundred percent certainty, even though she couldn't see him. But she could feel his gaze burning her.

When she bent over to pick up a towel, he sucked in a quick breath. Her heart pounded with excitement and fear. If only she could turn around and see what he was doing. Was he angry, aroused, amused?

She knew he was not indifferent, because he had not resumed swimming.

Then she turned around, and sat down on the edge of the pool chair, giving him a full-frontal view. She reached behind herself, picked up another towel, and wrapped it around herself.

"There!" She sounded as brainless as Tweety bird. "Nobody saw a thing."

"I saw lots of…things." Devonwood's deep voice rumbled in the darkness.

She laughed. "No one made you look."

With two strokes, he was at the side of the pool. "Let's see how far you're willing to go. Jiggle those things for me."

"Goodness." She managed a light laugh. "I'd better get dressed."

She stood, picked up her thin cotton dress, and well, she had to do it. She dropped the towel and then pulled the dress, as slowly as she dared, over her head. It settled down around her, but she knew it was reasonably transparent when she stood in the full light of the moon, because she'd checked earlier.

When her vision cleared, she jumped in alarm.

The duke had climbed silently out of the pool, and was standing in front of her, his hair slicked back, his broad shoulders providing a sturdy platform for translucent drops of water, and his hands clenched in fists at his sides.

She had to remain cool, or she would lose control of her scheme. Picking up a towel, she rubbed it against her head.

"Are you trying to provoke me," he said, "or does it just come naturally?"

She dropped the towel, shook back her hair, and took a step toward him. "I was out here minding my own business. You—" she poked him in the chest "—are the one who showed up and started criticizing me."

"Anyone could have found you in the pool. What if I'd been Godfrey?" He grabbed the finger that had been poking him.

"For crying out loud! I would have asked him to turn his back so I could get a towel."

"You didn't ask me to turn my back." His big hand, cool with water drops, hot from his inner heat, curled around hers.

"You're a grown man," she said breathlessly. And some part of the grown man in front of her was growing right now, and it was pressing against her with eager demand.

"I thought you'd be able to get over the sight of a naked woman," she added, her voice faint as she looked up into his hot gaze.

"That's where you're wrong. At least, not when the naked woman is you." He pulled on her captured hand, she cried out and stumbled forward and then she was in his arms.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having me here today!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'm sooo late but I've got a hot tip!

Sorry, sorry, sorry to keep everyone waiting. Too much going on in my brains. But I have exciting news. If you didn't see the Cover Reveal Sunday, my first book with Kensington Publishing releases July 29 for preorder. It is a work of my heart and I'm going to give you a taste of it here.

***Leave me a comment. One lucky person will win an ebook of their choice.

A love story for everyone.
Sometimes life is not fair. For Julia Patterson meeting Luke Buchanan opened the door to a new life and brought her to life as a woman. In his arms she learns for the first time how real passion and emotion can enrich your life. He claims her body with the pleasure of erotic sex and his heart with unrestricted love. But Fate was laughing at Julia, just as she is about to step over the threshold into a wonderful new life. When her almost-ex-husband Charles is diagnosed with a fatal heart condition her divorce is put on hold along with the rest of her life. Turning her back on Luke and the intense passion and emotion they shared is the most difficult thing she’s ever done. But Julia has a secret, one that Charles has discovered and uses like a club. Thirteen years later when Luke walks back into her life the passion and emotion are just as explosive as ever. Will they finally have their chance at happiness or will her secret destroy it forever?
“Our executive vice president is tied up in a meeting right now,” Howard whispered as the executive staff filed in. “He’s the one who says yea or nay. He’ll join us as soon as he can.”
Great. Would he expect her to do it all over again for him?
She sighed and began her presentation again.
It was well into the afternoon and she was pulling out copies of the proposed budget to distribute when the door to the boardroom opened quietly, and Julia’s stomach dropped to the floor. She felt as if an electric surge slammed into her, plucking at every one of her nerve endings.
The man who silently took a seat at the end of the table wasn’t necessarily handsome, but he was one hundred percent male. Liquid brown eyes were framed by the thickest lashes she had ever seen on a man. She noticed the strong jaw and the lines of character etched on an incredibly masculine face. Straight brown hair, a hint of silver reflecting in the lights, was worn just a little long, giving him a slightly rakehell look.
The classic dark business suit barely concealed the power he radiated. More than that, he exuded an aura of self, of authority, of comfort in his own skin few men were able to attain. She could think of only three words to describe him. Dark. Edgy. Dangerous. In her entire thirty years, no man had ever affected her the way this man did. Certainly not Charles. She clamped down on her reaction, forbidding herself to let her thoughts wander into forbidden territory. As she’d learned, her judgment where men were concerned left a great deal to be desired.
“Let me interrupt a moment.” Manning jumped to his feet. “Julia, meet Lucas Buchanan, our executive vice president. He’s been in another meeting until now.”
“I’m pleased you could join us, Mr. Buchanan.” Julia pasted on her professional smile and hoped her voice sounded firmer to the others than it did to her.
Lucas Buchanan nodded at her. “Luke, please. Sorry to be late. Please don’t let me interrupt.”
She struggled to pick up the threads of what she’d been saying, her brain suddenly addled, and her hands unsteady. It took every ounce of personal discipline to keep focused on her presentation.
Excerpt 2: 

“Let’s hope,” he muttered. “All right. Be sure to let me know how things are. I’ll be worried about you. Here. Give me your cell phone.”
She pulled it out of her purse and handed it to him. He punched some numbers and gave it back to her.
“There. My private number’s in there. I’m speed dial number one. I’ll have my phone on all the time. Call me whenever.”
“Oh, Luke.” Her voice broke and she dug deep to get control of herself. “Why couldn’t we have met fifteen years ago?”
“I don’t think we would have been ready for each other then.” He kissed her one last time, then enfolded her in his arms. “Just remember. No matter what happens in your life, you will always be mine.”
“Yes, I will.” She was fighting tears and clinging to him as if she’d never let him go before taking a step back. “Goodbye, Luke.” And then she couldn’t help herself. “I love you.” She yanked up the handle of her suitcase and nearly ran into the terminal, dragging the luggage behind her.
Julia went through check-in and security as if in a fog. She bought herself another cup of tea and sat in the waiting area, sipping at the hot liquid, hoping it would ease the sudden chill invading her. The man sitting next to her was kind enough to nudge her when the call for boarding came. She entered the plane and took her seat like a robot, buckled in and leaned her head back.
Images flashed through her mind: she and Luke dancing, bodies moving slowly to the music, their first night together, the wonder of exploring each other’s bodies, the night in the cabin, warmed by the flames of the fire, their kiss at the airport, more poignant than sensual.
What a mess. The damn divorce papers still unsigned and now she had no idea when or how they would be. Luke had said he would wait but for how long? And how would the twins handle this? Their relationship with their father left a lot to be desired yet surely this would affect them emotionally. Her life was slowly being flushed down the toilet and she was left with a very inadequate plunger. Tears begin to trickle from the corners of her eyes, and her stomach knotted.
“Excuse me.” The flight attendant was leaning towards her, over the empty seat next to her. “Forgive me for asking but is something wrong?”
“No.” Julia sniffled, then tried on a smile. “Just fighting a cold is all.”
“Can I get you anything?” The attendant was obviously concerned.
“Some hot tea would be nice, if you could. And thank you.” Maybe she could drown herself in an ocean of the stuff.
“Tea it is. Coming right up.”
She realized as she sipped the hot liquid, she would now always associate it with Luke. She hoped she would still be able to drink it without crying. The tea seemed to settle her still-jumbled stomach enough so she could relax a little, but it did nothing to rid her of the feeling of despair creeping over her.

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