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Friday, April 24, 2015


April’s theme is daisies, diamonds, and storms. Daisies are very pretty and festive. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. I don’t have many diamonds, and the few I have are small, but that’s okay. I’m not much of a diamond gal. I prefer more colorful gems.

I chose the storm picture here because it shows one of the famous natural monuments in Monument Valley, Utah, a place I visited with my husband and son on one of our trips to the Southwest. We didn’t see any storms, but the mesas and plateaus and the wonders of Nature spread out for all to see there is awe-inspiring.

I live in Delaware, on the East Coast. Thankfully, we don’t get weather extremes here. Tornados have been known to touch down, but they’re minor compared to what they get in Tornado Alley. We have severe thunderstorms at times, but thunderstorms don’t scare me. I think they’re awesome, but I do worry about losing power each time we have a storm. In 2008, we were hit with a big hailstorm with golf-ball size hail. The sound of those ice balls hitting our house was deafening. When it started, we didn’t know what it was. My husband, son, and I, along with our cat, ran to the window. I’ve never seen anything like that before or since. Unfortunately, our cars were parked outside and they sustained damage from the hail.

Hurricanes, snowstorms, and ice storms are our biggest weather challenges in this part of the country. As a child, snowstorms were fun because we got out of school and we could go sledding when the snow stopped falling. Snowstorms and ice storms aren’t much fun when you’re an adult and have to drive in them to get to work. Most companies don’t close for snow or ice.

The last big hurricane here was Irene in 2011. Hurricane Sandy the following year was worse but it affected the Jersey Shore and not so much Delaware. During Irene, we lost power and Internet for six days. The evening the hurricane started, we lost Internet. We lost power during the night when a tree in a neighbor’s yard fell on electric wires. Twelve houses in our neighborhood were affected by that falling tree. Power outages were widespread throughout the state. At least we had water and our landline. Two of our phones are hardwired so even with a power outage we have phone service. That first afternoon when the storm finally ended, I heard a horrible thumping noise that shook the house. I looked out the window to see a telephone pole in our yard on the ground and split in two. There went our landline.

We were luckier than our neighbors because we had hot water. Their water heaters are electric while ours is gas-powered. We could take hot showers and they had to be content with cold ones. It was still summer and that helped. We managed to save everything in our refrigerator. We took our frozen stuff to a nearby relative’s and stored them in her freezer. We had two large coolers in our kitchen where we kept the refrigerated stuff. Every other day we bought more ice for the coolers. I cooked every night on the grill outside. On the fifth day our food ran out and we had to eat out. Every morning, I made a run to the convenience store for coffee. Must have my coffee in the morning.

Almost as bad as losing electricity was losing Internet. I got my first iPhone later that same month so I would never again be completely without my Internet. I was going crazy. It was as if I had no link to the outside world. Finally, after five days, I went to Barnes & Noble to use their Internet. Seems everyone had the same idea. The place was packed with people sitting all over using laptops. A store employee found me the last free electric outlet in the store—in the children’s section. I sat on a tiny child’s seat and hooked up to the BN Wi-Fi. At last, I could read my emails. I felt calmer than I had in days. On the day I was at BN, my husband was working on the yard. He left our garage door open and a guy on a bicycle stole two leaf blowers out of the garage. My husband chased after him on foot but couldn’t catch him. There are always those people who take advantage of situations.

On the sixth day, a convoy of power company trucks rolled into our neighborhood. The cavalry! Most of us neighbors who’d lost power were in my backyard at the time. When we saw the power company trucks, we let out a loud cheer.

We survived Irene, but it was a lesson in how dependent we are on basic needs like electric, water, telephone, and also Internet. I hope not to go through that again, but Mother Nature likes to flex her muscles at times and we’re at her mercy.

Weather can be a great backdrop for a story. My multi-award winning sexy sizzler, Storm of Desire, is set during a January nor’easter at the Delaware beach.

"The storm outside is nothing compared to the storm of desire and guilt raging between former lovers trapped together." 
Corporate attorney Samantha Greco needs some peace and quiet to come to a decision about her career. Instead, while an icy nor’easter rages outside, she finds herself trapped in a cottage on Fenwick Island with Aiden Rourke, a man she used five years ago when she ran from the heartbreak of her fiancé’s betrayal. 

Aiden Rourke has loved Sam for years. For one glorious night she was his. But then she fled, wounding his ego and his heart. Thrown together again, they soon discover time hasn’t diminished their fiery passion for each other. Only Aiden has ever been able to melt Sam with just a look or a touch. But the fear that she’s like her mother, who used men mercilessly, scares Sam to death. 

The storm outside is nothing compared to the storm of desire, fear, and guilt raging inside Sam. But during their wild weekend together, Sam and Aiden draw closer and realize their all-consuming passion for each other masks deeper needs and desires. 

When the storm ends, will they go their separate ways? Or will they find the courage to face the future together as one? 

Winner, second place novella category, 2013 Gulf Coast RWA Silken Sands Star Contest! 

Winner, fourth place short contemporary category-2013 OKRWA International Digital Awards Contest! 

Here’s an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.
Samantha Greco yanked her wet suitcase through the bedroom doorway, dropped it on the floor, turned on the lamp and slammed the door. The sound reverberated through the empty house. She hadn’t meant to take her frustrations out on the door, but her white-knuckled drive up the coast from Richmond, Virginia, to Fenwick Island, Delaware, had plucked her last nerve.   
Lightning flashed, illuminating the shadowed corners of the room. The fierceness of the January storm had turned the early afternoon to dusk. A sudden crack of thunder made her jump. Damn nor’easter!  
Shivering, she set her handbag on the night table, then shrugged off her jacket and threw it on the bed. The soaking rain had dampened her jeans. She sat on the bed and tugged off her boots, then her jeans and the sweater she'd worn since early morning. She unzipped her suitcase and rummaged for fresh jeans and a sweater. Straightening, the clean clothes in one hand, she loosened her hair from its clasp to let the damp tendrils swing about her shoulders and down her back.
She started when she caught a glimpse of another person in her peripheral vision. With a nervous laugh, she realized she’d seen her reflection in the full-length mirror. She studied herself and shrugged. Clad only in a red thong and matching lace bra, her black hair falling loose and undone, she looked worlds removed from the conservative corporate lawyer she presented to her colleagues. 
The lamp flickered, then went out, plunging the room into semi-darkness.
Samantha dropped the clothes onto the bed and let her eyes adjust. The wind picked up, howling an angry song. Scrub trees scraped the side of the house, a macabre accompaniment to the wind. Anxiety snaked through her. “I should have stayed in Richmond this weekend.”
Above the wail of the wind, she heard a door open and close. Samantha froze. She must have imagined the sound. Or maybe the cats were into something, or perhaps it was only a loose shutter. 
Footsteps echoed in the hallway.  
Definitely not the cats. Not a shutter either. 
Her heart raced. Oh, God. 
She groped for the sweater she’d thrown down. Sweater in hand, she looked frantically around for something to use as a weapon. 
Her bedroom door flew open and hit the wall with a loud bang. She screamed. A tall man, brandishing a baseball bat, stood silhouetted in the doorway. 
She threw the only thing she had in her hand at him--her sweater. He smacked it to the ground with the bat. The light suddenly came back on. She blinked as recognition dawned.
“Who the hell…?” he shouted above the thunder and the wind. His dark blue eyes widened and he sucked in a breath. Frowning, he lowered the bat. “Sam? I saw the car and wondered. But you? Why are you here?”
She couldn’t breathe as his hot gaze raked her. She’d never forgotten those eyes or that thick brown hair, or the dimple in his cheek when he smiled. She'd never forgotten that night five years ago either, that incredible night. Almost naked, feeling vulnerable, she folded her arms across her chest as if she could protect herself from the memories.  
“Aiden.” Her voice shook. Warmth curled in her stomach and wound lower, leaving her breathless from fright and remembered heat. 
He set the bat against the wall and glared at her, making her wonder if she’d imagined the desire in his eyes a second ago. “Sam, what the hell are you doing here?”
No one but Aiden called her Sam. 
The unexpected harshness of his voice brought her to the present. She scowled back at him. “What are you doing here? In my mother’s house?”
He pushed fingers through his hair, sending droplets of water flying, and studied her with eyes that sparked blue fire. This time there was no mistaking his desire. His gaze made another leisurely sweep of her body. “My God, you’re beautiful,” he whispered. “And still sexy as hell.”
Despite the embarrassment of her near-nakedness, her nipples pebbled under his scrutiny. He was smokin’ hot, and impressions flashed through her mind, as quick as the lightning outside--the feel of his lips on hers, the rough skin of his palms against her breasts. 
She should tell him to leave; she should get dressed. But caught in the sensual heat of her memories, she couldn’t move.
He broke the contact and looked away. When he turned back to her, his eyes were cool. “Get some clothes on, Sam. I’m a man, not a saint.”
“Maybe if you hadn’t charged in here scaring me half to death, I would have had time to dress.”
She glanced down and saw her short terry robe hanging out of her suitcase.
She grabbed it and pulled it on, tying the belt around her waist. Feeling armored, she propped a hand on her hip. “You didn’t answer my question. What are you doing here?”
“I promised your mom I’d take care of things while she’s away. I drove over from Rehoboth to check the house and get the cats. I would have been here sooner but the storm's made driving a mess.” He gave her a pointed look. “As you know.”
She ignored his jab. “You’re the friend who’s watching the cats?” At his nod, she said, “Well I’m here now. I’ll take care of them. You can leave.”
A muscle twitched in his jaw and he moved into the room. “Yeah. Right. You’re here now. Get dressed, Sam. We need to leave. All of us.”
At the seriousness in his eyes and voice, apprehension dashed up her spine.
She pulled on the ties of her robe again, fighting her unease. “What are you talking about?”
“The storm. We don’t have time to argue. Let’s find the cats and get the hell out of here.”
“Are you nuts?”
“You’re the one who’s nuts if you stay here.” He jutted his chin toward the windows. “Do you hear that? The storm of the decade and it’s only going to get worse. The Coastal Highway is taking on water. They’re evacuating everyone inland. Didn’t you notice cars going out but none coming in?”
“It’s January. There’s never much traffic here in January. Besides, I’ve been through plenty of nor’easters.”
“Then you know what happens when the highway floods.” 
A clap of thunder shook the house, as if to punctuate his statement.
Aiden reached out and turned her toward her suitcase. “We don’t have much time. Have you seen the cats? I don’t want to leave them alone. We don’t know when the authorities will allow us back in.”
She stepped away from him, then rubbed her arm as if she could erase the heat of his touch. “The cats ran past me into Mom's room a little while ago.”
“I’ll get the carriers. Get dressed, then we’ll get the cats.”
“Don’t order me around.”
He moved closer, invading her senses with his heat. His hair had begun to dry and curled softly over the collar of his black leather jacket. The dim light from the lamp touched his sharp cheekbones and full lips.
“Listen, princess, if we don’t get out now, we might be stuck here for days.”
Remembering the pleasure he’d given her with that mouth, she licked her suddenly dry lips. “Stuck here? With you?”
His eyes darkened and his gaze lingered on her mouth. “The two of us. Here. All alone.”  

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Lynda Bailey said...

Such a horrible experience for you and your family, Cara! Thank goodness no one was hurt.
Love your excerpt - soooo sexy. ;) Best of luck with your endeavors!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Cara! We are in the midst of our "exciting" season. So far, we haven't had to gather the pets into the bathroom and wait it out. The sky turns a creepy green gray. It's quiet. The clouds are heavy. The sirens start. A few years back, I was working away when hail hit. First pea, then pause. Then larger, pause. Then bigger, pause. Then baseball fast and furious. The cars looked like someone hammered them. The live oak trees were stripped of their leaves. The homes in the historical district were hardest hit with concrete tile and slate roofs smashed, windows broken. Limbs everywhere. I haven't "been in" a tornado, but been mighty close. Stay safe everyone during this "interesting" weather season.

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Lynda. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

Vicki, please stay safe. You've had some extreme weather in TX. The sky turning green is scary

Judy Baker said...

Love the Monument Valley picture, it's beautiful. Originally from Tennessee, I remember lots of bad storms and I still love to hear the thunder.
Thanks for sharing.

jean hart stewart said...

Smokin' excerpt... Stay safe....

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Judy and Jean.

Melissa Keir said...

I hate when we lose power. I'm better planned myself now. Hubby has a generator and we have fresh water stored, but I would have been right next to you at the store using power!

I love the cover of your books and the excerpt is great! All the best!

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks, Melissa. A generator is a great idea. When we lose power, I always wish we had one.

Janice Seagraves said...

Never been a hurricane, thank goodness. Sounds like you and your family managed to keep it together. Must have been hard though.


Janice Seagraves said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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