July Fabulous Reads…
Here is a snippet from Replay by Topaz Rossi
Aria is happy with her life, working as a high school history teacher and raising her young son, Jake. When Niall McEvoy returns to Tagelus Bay, he awakens the memory of the love they shared before he left her behind to pursue a career in professional football. Can they be friends without her risking her heart? Replay – Kindle edition by Rossi, Topaz. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Here is a snippet from Replay by Topaz Rossi:
“I love you, Aria. I never stopped, and if we don’t find our way back to
each other now, I’ll always love you. I don’t know what the future holds
for me, but I want you to know how I feel, how I’ve always felt, and maybe someday you’ll feel that way again about me.” She took his face in her hands and
kissed him with all the feelings she’d bottled up inside over the years.
Bax always fantasized something remarkable would happen in his life. So when a decrepit man with glowing purple eyes offers him a ring intended for his estranged father, Bax accepts.
The ring speaks to Bax in a dream, tempting him with a vision of a powerful djinn. Desperate to make his fantasies a reality, Bax unleashes a creature called Ifrit, but soon learns this djinn isn’t what the ring led him to believe. Feeding off the depths of his subconscious, the sinister demon fulfills what he thinks Bax wants by manipulating, threatening, and murdering. With everyone he loves in danger and a trail of crimes pointing back at him, Bax must scramble to solve the puzzle that will banish Ifrit forever.
Debut novel FROM BRICK & DARKNESS out now from @jlsullivanauthor.
Here is a snippet out of From Brick & Darkness by J. L. Sullivan:
Neck bones popped as his head rotated toward me, his face eclipsing the rays of the streetlight. His irises were dull purple, glazed over with a foggy film, and deep-set wrinkles radiated from the corners of his eyes like arrows drawing attention to them.
A shudder caused the keys to slip from my hand and clank on the ground. My face burned with shame that the poor man’s appearance had startled me. My rudeness would have disappointed Mom.
“I’m sorry, but really—” I snagged my keys.
His hand slithered out of the brick-colored sleeve as his arm rose, trembling as he strained to hold the weight of his own limb. Gloved in loose, veiny skin, his skeleton hand had yellowed fingernails so overgrown they grew in on themselves like curly birthday ribbons. As his fingers unfurled, he revealed a ring nestled in his palm.
It was large. Too large. The ring resembled the toy jewelry Jason’s sister played with or something from a Halloween costume. Grimy gold with a single dull purplish jewel that matched his eyes.
His hand trembled under the heaviness of the ring. “Take it.”
Shifting my backpack to my other shoulder, I took it. “What is this?”
The corners of his thin lips curled into a grin as a gust of warm, dry wind cut through the chilly October night and swirled around me.
In VISIONARIES, from Laguna Beach, Ca, to the North Cascades of WA, and on to the Rockies of Colorado, RR Rowley immerses you into the blossoming countercultural back to the land movement of the late 60s and early 70s; a way of living that has left a lasting imprint upon the current wellness seeking community. Against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and us versus them social clashes, join idealistic Mac in his discoveries of love and spirituality as he quests for meaning and belonging in a troubled world conflicted with division much like it is today. Experience how a network of young, inspired people built a nationwide collective of like minds that gathered in thousands to circle and pray non-denominationally for world peace and love- creating an annual circling that has continued for fifty years. www.amazon.com/Visionaries-Journey-Mountain-RR-Rowley/dp/0578392097/
Here is a snippet from Visionaries – A Journey To Table Mountain by RR Rowley:
By now, the sun began to sink through a rippled cloud bank of grey, blue, and purple while a sea breeze blew steadily from the Northwest. Ahead of him, rising out of the shrubs and shore pine trees, a shamble of an old cabin lay in ruins – someone’s homestead by the sea, years ago. Reaching the old place’s shell, it became evident how the onslaught of wind and weather had pushed the sand and dunes onward, overtaking the house, and most probably, the dream. In one corner, a short portion of the board wall remained. Mac made camp in the lee of it.
Camp made, he went out towards the sea. The Northwest that he had longed for swelled up in his heart. The song of it’s glory scored by the crashing courses of white breakers rolling in before him, nearly brought him to tears. The sea roared, rolled, and broke again until sheeting to the shoreline in a frothy, shifting blanket, all bubbly and hissing from the release of its stored up oxygen.
The horizon darkened, and a massive cloud bank moved in from out to sea. In reaction, Mac returned to camp, quickly gathering some kindling from dead branches in the pines. He started a fire and stoked it up bright, then lay back in his sack and watched the shadows flicker on the faded timbers of the ruin. How eerie they appeared, the remnants of someone’s dream.
He thought of his own life – his dream. How far he had come since turning on and dropping out as a teenager, and how far he wished to go. Yeah, the sex was alluring and easy, and the drugs and rock and roll were plenty of fun and adventuresome. However, something deeper had called him – a longing for a mystical, spiritual connection with what he had come to know as Great Spirit. He loved how his tribe understood that connection. Left in California, where were they now? Could this Oregon trip have been a delusion? Should he be doing something else with his life, giving more to the world? Out of the blue, he thought of his parents, how he had hurt them by turning his back on their way of life and running to be wild. It made him sad. Pondering his road forward, he dozed off in front of the fire at the house of broken dreams.
RETURN TO WYLDER, from award-winning contemporary romance author, Maria Imbalzano, is a stand-alone book in the Wylder West series. Written in first person from both the heroine’s and hero’s points of view, this book is sure to immerse you in the story from page one. Maria brilliantly captures the emotion and conflict between the well-developed main characters which will keep you turning the pages until the very end. For a small town romance that has just the right amount of steam and hits all the senses, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. https://books2read.com/u/4ELoOE
Here is a snippet from RETURN TO WYLDER by Maria Imbalzano:
“What do you mean? I’m friendly.”
She bit her lip, drawing yet more attention to her mouth. “Small-town friendly is different. You’re civil. But you’re no-nonsense. Unapproachable. And very demanding. You dress like a rich business owner, which you are, but it sends the wrong message. Even though you think you’re dressing down, your jeans are probably dry cleaned and your boots are polished Italian leather. The men around here wear flannel shirts, worn out denims, cowboy boots. Have you noticed that you don’t fit in?” Her laugh tickled my heart.
“Why do you fit in? You have on a designer suit, silk blouse, high heels. A big-city outfit if I’ve ever seen one.” But of course, I loved that she stuck out like an emerald amongst sea glass.
“I have my lawyer uniform on. And I grew up here. People know me, despite my clothes. I could wear casual pants and a sweater to work while I’m here, but it doesn’t send the right message. I definitely do not have to wear a suit. That would only be required if I were going to court. Or meeting with an out-of-town city client. Which I have been.”
I felt my smile bloom. “So you’re dressing to impress me?”
“No. Most definitely not.” Her response held the hint of a bite despite her teasing demeanor. “Today is only my second day here. Yesterday I had no idea what or whom I was going to face.”
I pushed the envelope. “You did today.”
“You may recall that you showed up without an appointment. And tonight was a mere coincidence.” A shadow crossed her face, and her voice softened. “My father dressed in a suit every day, even though it wasn’t necessary. I was channeling his spirit.” Sadness clouded those beautiful mercurial eyes. “Plus, my wardrobe changed when I moved to San Francisco.”
Frankly, I didn’t care what she wore. Designer duds, jeans, lacy underwear. Nothing. I smiled to myself at the direction my mind was veering. Interesting.
RJ Waters, award-winning mystery writer: I Just Wanted A Beer. Is a step away from his previous police procedural mysteries. It journeys into the world of Area 51 in the Nevada desert. Is it speculative fiction or is -it already here? @AuthorRjwaters #suspense#mysteries https://tinyurl.com/RJ-Waters
Here is a snippet from I Just Wanted A Beer. By RJ Waters
Charles signs, “John was here because the CIA needed to find a place where he couldn’t do any harm. He screwed up a couple of big operations. One night over a few too many drinks, John told me Pierce was the driving force in those ops and he pushed John into making hasty decisions. By saving John it gave Pierce a puppet for later use. Turns out John did not want to cooperate either. He played the game much smarter than I did. He just kept giving Pierce lip service. Project was online, had a delay, unforeseen problems, etc. Lucky for him you came along.”
“So why do you think Franklin Pierce changed into the apparent warmonger he has become?’
Charles is quiet for a minute, then shaking his head says, “The whole group running the government back then, never gave up, and kept planning for their place int the sun. I heard them talk, but I didn’t think they meant a government takeover.”
“Why do you think now?”
“Franklin Pierce basically said so. He hastily changed his tone and laughed after he realized I was there.”
“Why are you so worried about Pierce, Charles? You are gone, retired.”
“Before I was escorted off the property, Pierce came up and whispered in my ear,
‘Enjoy your retirement, Charles. Keep your tongue or I’ll have it cut out.’
“The man was stone faced as he spewed the threat. I nodded and left.”
PRECIOUS TREASURE by Terry Segan is a paranormal mystery that will pull you in and take you along for the ride. As stated in a 5-star review: “This book grabbed my attention right away…a mystery with an intriguing American Civil War diary tie-in and a hint of romance.” Follow Janie as she searches for answers about her missing husband of eight years. As she spirals closer to the truth, will those she puts her trust in help or hinder her? With guilt nagging at the edges of her mind, she stumbles into the arms of a new suiter. Add in her newly found acceptance that ghosts exist, she resolves to help the wayward spirit in the hope of finding closure to her own mystery.
Here is a snippet from Precious Treasure by Terry Segan:
Janie dragged herself out of bed and into the bathroom. Turning on the tap to fill the sink, she bent over and splashed cold water on her face. The refreshing drops rolled down her forehead, cheeks and chin, pulling her out of her funk. Sightless, Janie reached for the hand towel hanging nearby and dried her face as she stood upright. Opening her eyes, she leaned in to examine the damage of the late night on her complexion. Her reflection looked back, as well as that of a young man standing behind her. Janie’s heart leapt to her throat as she whipped around and found no one there. Looking back in the mirror, she saw only herself.
This is too much, she thought. First nightmares and now hallucinations. Janie shook her head. With the assault of information thrown at her in the last twenty-four hours, her imagination cartwheeled out of control.
Knowing the visions were a result of the wine, newspaper articles and journal, didn’t calm the raised hackles on the back of her neck. The foreboding in Brian’s letter snaked its way up her spine threatening to encircle her throat and squeeze tight. His writing had a tone of uncertainty and fear—uncharacteristic of the man she had married.
STRONG ENOUGH – book 4 in the Masonville Small Town Romance series by Jana Richards.
Charlotte Saunders has a full life—a rewarding career as a nurse, meaningful volunteer work at a dog shelter, and family, friends and pets she adores. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the horrible event that’s haunted her for ten years.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Damon Greyson now helps others who have suffered trauma. His experience and intuition alert him to trouble in Charlotte’s past, and he wants to help her, if only she’d let him.
As they work together to help veterans suffering from PTSD and neglected dogs needing loving homes, their feelings for each other deepen. But when the trauma from Charlotte’s past roars back to life, both are forced to confront their painful histories—or die trying.
Here is a snippet from STRONG ENOUGH, book 4 in the Masonville Small Town Romance series by Jana Richards:
Damon rolled over and groaned into his pillow. He’d underestimated how tortuous living with Charlotte would be. In each of the four nights he’d lain in this bed, he imagined Charlotte in hers. Did she sleep in t-shirts and cotton boxer shorts, or in silk nighties? He wanted the silk. He imagined running his hands over the soft material, and then her bare skin, unable to tell where the fabric ended and the silk of her skin began. His body burned with wanting her, burned with wanting to sink inside her, to love her.
But it wasn’t what Charlotte wanted. Or needed. Damon groaned into his pillow one last time before pushing himself to a seated position. Time for another cold shower.
He threw on a pair of sweatpants, grabbed his bag of toiletries and opened his door. Charlotte emerged from the bathroom at the same moment, a fluffy white towel covering her from just above her breasts to the top of her thighs. Her wet hair clung to her bare shoulders, and little rivulets of water disappeared beneath the towel. She was like an exotic mermaid rising from the sea. Damon stared transfixed at the streams of water flowing over her skin before lifting his gaze to her face. Her eyes were wide, her mouth partially open in an expression of surprise. She clutched the top of the towel with one hand, hiking it higher up her thighs.
She was so damn beautiful she rendered him speechless. Hell, he could barely breathe.
“Sorry.” Charlotte’s cheeks flushed pink. “I forgot my robe. I’m used to being on my own.”
Damon cleared his throat and tested his voice. “I…I’m the one who should apologize. I just woke up. I didn’t hear the shower.”
She nodded and bit her bottom lip. Damon watched her mouth, his body on fire despite the awkwardness of the moment.
“I should go,” she whispered.
“Yeah, me too. I need to shower.”
For a second, neither of them moved. Then Daisy approached and barked once, then twice more. Charlotte blinked as if waking from a deep sleep. She tightened her hold on the towel.
“I have to go.”
With that, she hurried to her room and closed the door. Damon stood immobile, staring after her. It took all his self-control not to go after her. The only thing stopping him was the knowledge that she didn’t want him.
FELICITY’S FORTUNE is the newest release from award-wining, historical romance author, Kara O’Neal. One reader touts, “I enjoyed this story from the first page. It has romance, suspense, and two sweet little girls that captured my heart. Like the first book in the series, Katie’s Gamble, this story has a strong female who won’t stop until she does what she sets out to do!” Meet Felicity, a no-nonsense lady and mother, and Butch, a gambler and gunslinger who turns out to be a giant with a heart of gold.
Here is a Snippet from FELICITY’S FORTUNE by Kara O’Neal:
When Butch reached Rickman’s office, he tried to see through the windows to the inside, but the grimy panes allowed for nothing. Cautious but unafraid, he walked in without hesitation.
But when he found who had come calling, he about swallowed his tongue. He stopped short, his hand on the knob, his mind devoid of all thought.
“Are you Mr. Wilder?”
Her honey voice poured through him, grabbing hold of his senses.
She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry to interrupt your work, sir, but I’m looking for Mr. Butch Wilder. Are you he?”
Snap out of it, man! Butch blinked then cleared his throat. “Uh, yeah. Yes. I’m Butch Wilder.” He shut the door.
She looked him over.
He steeled himself against the fear he might see in her eyes due to his size, but when her gaze touched his face, what he found was desperation. Confused and a little nervous, he wrapped his thumbs around his suspenders.
“Do you know who I am?”
Would it upset her if he did? But he couldn’t lie to her. Somehow she’d know if he did. “Yes.”
She twitched her lips as if frustrated by her infamy. He couldn’t blame her.
After letting out a slow exhale, she said, “My home, and by that I really refer to my children, my housekeeper and myself, has been under attack since my former husband was arrested and tried.”
So…she had gotten divorced. Or was it an annulment? He stayed quiet, not knowing what she wanted or if he was allowed to respond.
“We need constant protection until this is settled.” She waved a hand in the air. “Until either the…the hanging or…” She paused, and her gaze went distant.
He narrowed his eyes slightly. What bothered her? The event she hadn’t mentioned or the hanging?
She shook her head. “I apologize. The last weeks have been rather harrowing.”
He could imagine. From the arrest, to the trial, to now…
A portion of what she’d said registered in his mind. “I’m sorry, ma’am. But why are you here? You mentioned…protection?” Hell. Was she going to ask him to…
“Yes. The sheriff’s office can’t provide anyone, so he suggested I hire you.”
Butch’s mind whirled with the implications.
“I will pay you well, plus meals, because I would prefer it if you moved into my home. People come at all times of the day and night. I’m fearful of what has occurred in my absence for the last few hours.” She pressed two fingers to her temple and rubbed. “Not that I can do anything about it,” she muttered. She let out a weary exhale.
While she struggled with exhaustion, he tried to make sense of what she was offering. It was ridiculous. Him? Butch Wilder? Protect her? And her family?
Hell. That was damned laughable.
Dragons Walk Among Us is a perfect read for young adults. Just look at what D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, said:
“As Allison begins to interact with the dragons and comes to view them not as the enemy but as entities that hold their own personalities, interests, and objectives, Dragons Walk Among Us imparts further lessons on different kinds of prejudices and assumptions and the process of replacing knee-jerk, judgmental attitudes with understanding.”
Here is a Snippet from Dragons Walk Among Us by Dan Rice:
Staring across the crowd, I don’t feel absolutely horrible having so many people watching me. I barely notice Leslie standing up front, her eyes narrowed in a drop-dead glare. At the back of the gymnasium, my father smiles and waves at me. I wave back, delighted that he made it to the ceremony to watch me take home the grand prize.
Mr. Eldridge shakes my hand again. “Excellent work, Allison. You really deserve this award.”
The district official smiles and ushers me off the podium. I reenter the crowd and head straight to the bathroom. I’m floating in the pristine water off a tropical paradise. Life can’t get much better than this. It’s like all my greatest dreams are coming to fruition. The only thing that could make it better is if an editor from a major newspaper materializes out of the crowd to recruit me as a staff photographer.
I enter the girls’ locker room that smells of deodorizer and scoot past rows of lockers for the stalls. I balance my plaque on the toilet paper dispenser while I get down to business. I shut my eyes, not quite believing that I’m the grand-prize winner. I can’t wait to tell Dalia and Jason and Joe.
I stop at the sink to wash my hands. The door to the locker room creaks open. I look in the mirror both to admire my green hair and to catch a glimpse of the interloper. I clench my jaw. It’s Leslie staring at me balefully.
“Your photograph is fake.” Leslie snarls. “Just like you. Fake. Fake like your hair. Ugly like your slanted eyes.”
I freeze, the lukewarm water cascading over my hands. The words remind me of a fact I try to ignore. The reality that my face is a mixture of Asian and Caucasian features. My cheeks pale as Leslie marches across the locker room.
“You don’t deserve this.” She snatches my plaque off the counter. “Your photo isn’t documentary or photojournalism. It’s a portrait of your friend.”
She looms inside my personal space, scowling down her nose at me. The standoff might last for five seconds or five minutes for all I know. With a scoff, she twirls away and strides for the exit, pausing to deposit my plaque in the trash can.
Phil hits the open road in an RV and experiences his destiny and a beautiful woman named Dani. Phil’s mundane life goes off the rails and you’d never guess it was over something as simple as a lawnmower. Phil trades in his old life for a new one and hits the road, ready to travel and see where life takes him. When he comes across a barefoot woman hitchhiking, he feels compelled to give her a lift. Her answers are cryptic and lead to more questions. Her name is Dani and after three days of traveling and talking, she disappears. What happens next is something of a mystery. Phil stumbles upon a place where everyone is waiting for him to arrive. Is it destiny or something more sinister? He reunites and falls in love with Dani. Before he knows what’s happened, he’s thrown in jail for two murders. Can Phil get himself out of this mess and be with Dani or is it all a dream?
Here is a snippet from It had to be you by Mike Owens:
He rowed the skiff out to the middle of the pond where he floated, silent, gazing up at a crescent moon reflected perfectly in the still surface of the water, a small boat on a small pond, a speck in something so vast with no beginning and no end.
“Are you all right? I came to check on you.”
He jumped at the sound of her voice. Her head and bare shoulders were above the gunnels. He looked behind her, where ripples should mark the path of her swim, but saw none.
“How did you get here?” In other words, how had she made it from the shoreline to his boat, over two hundred feet, without leaving any trace on the surface?
“How do you think?”
“You didn’t swim, did you?”
“Not exactly.” She hoisted herself over the side of the boat. Sometimes she wore a bathing suit, sometimes she didn’t, tonight she didn’t, and she was luminous, brighter than the moon. She must have been visible from some distance, radiant and naked as she was.
“I’m cold. You have to get me warm.”
He wrapped his arms around her, and she folded into him, every nook and cranny of his body. He ran his fingers through her hair…perfectly dry. How in hell?
Even dragging his fingertips across the surface of the water left a trail of ripples, but she’d left no trace. “Can you fly?” he asked, and he got the answer he should have expected.
June Fabulous Reads…
Who can you trust when anyone or anything may be a bloodthirsty demon? In Totem of Terror, award-winning author, Robert Herold, chronicles the Eidola Project team confronting a bloodthirsty shape-changing demon. Herold’s Eidola Project series has won a “Best Novel” award from the Southeastern Writers’ Association, plus Reader Ready Awards, and been finalists in other contests. Join the team for first-rate spine-tingling gothic horror. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09VYNVXN6/
Here is a snippet from TOTEM OF TERROR by Robert Herold
He became cognizant of white fur appearing all over the woman’s body as she continued to rock above him. At first, it was fine hair, hardly noticeable, but then it became a thick white coat. He let go of her still-thrusting hips and noticed his arms and chest were now covered in black fur. He watched in horror as his fingers withdrew into his palms and the nails formed into claws. Each thumb migrated up his wrists to form dewclaws. Black pads formed on his palms.
Panicking, he reached up to feel his face and noticed the long snout that had emerged.
Eleanor was quickening the pace of their lovemaking, pounding her hips down against him with abandon. She dropped her head to regard him, and Nigel saw her face had fully transformed into a white wolf with two fiery red eyes.
Phoebe’s Cherokee grandmother left her this riddle: “Take care of the land and the land will take care of you.” Now she fights her former brother-in-law Jack for possession of her home and farm near Oklahoma City. Just as she is ready to give up, a sexy and mysterious Native American martial artist named Alex offers to help. Who is Alex and what is his connection to Jack? Why does Jack want the farm after all these years? Why is her grandmother’s ghost lurking in the shadows? Instead of one riddle to solve, Phoebe now has a handful of them. — Read the paranormal romance MUSK RAIN by Terri Branson. | Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003552T7Y/ | Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/musk-rain/id365938630 | Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/9780981704920 |
Here is a Snippet from MUSK RAIN by Terri Branson:
A sensual aroma warmed Phoebe’s nostrils.
She looked over her shoulder and found a man watching her from the other end of the aisle.
Dressed all in black, from denim shirt to jeans to dusty sneakers, he made a striking appearance. Long limbs complimented a solid six-foot frame. Shoulder-length coal-black hair was woven into a sturdy single braid. A tan complexion and handsome features denoted Native American ancestry mixed with something else. Thick lashes framed intense gold eyes. His aroma was primal and exotic, as if nature had poured musk into the rain clouds and sprinkled in a few pheromones just for good measure.
Offering a smooth smile, he broke eye contact and ambled forward, like a panther stalking prey through the rain forest, his movements powerful yet agile. In fluid motion, he brushed her with a shoulder. Then a hip. And did not apologize for either.
Usually Phoebe objected to men intruding into her personal space, but this implied panther’s kiss was nothing short of orgasmic. She took a deep breath to shake off a silly schoolgirl flush, and then turned. To her surprise, he was gone. Only the scent of him remained to coat the store. That black-haired panther was not like anything she had ever seen on the edge of the Oklahoma prairie.
After stuffing the old paperback into the nearest slot, Phoebe walked to the front of the store. The tiny brass bell hanging over the door had not rung. He should still be in the store somewhere. Forgoing any pretense of nonchalance, she stalked the length of the store and peered down straight aisles. In the far corner she found only Twyla.
“Where is he?” Phoebe demanded with an odd mixture of confusion and annoyance.
Setting down an armful of books, Twyla headed to the front and slipped behind the counter. “Where’s who?”
“You didn’t see him?’ Phoebe followed, sliding up to the old counter and dropping her arms on its scuffed surface.
“What did you see? Another ghost?”
Phoebe shook her head in absolute certainty. That was no ghost. “A man, dressed all in black.”
Read the full excerpt, read reviews, watch a video, and find sales links at: https://www.muskrain.com/
Looking for a romance that’s a little different? Check out what readers are saying about award-winning romance author @AuthorStacyGold latest release, Wild at Heart.
© “(A) unique and exciting romance novel full of outdoor adventure, a sexy trail romance, self-doubt and the bravery behind loving again after past heartbreak.”
© “A wonderful read for those interested in second chances, romance, and the crazy paths that life can take us on.”
© “I especially love when male protagonists aren’t toxic and Evan nailed that to perfection! Pick this up for a lovely and romantic time outdoors.”
© “Made my heart melt on multiple occasions. All those sweet moments were balanced perfectly with a good dose of spice”
© “Refreshingly sweet and funny. The banter between Evan and Jules is delightful and story itself was entertaining.”
© “It’s hilarious and totally not what you would expect putting him in the damsel in distress role…I’m starting to doubt my devotion to the typical “alpha-male” characters.”
Here is a Snippet from Wild at Heart by Stacy Gold
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, cold air cooling my lungs. If this was going to happen, it needed to be fast and passionate and wild and impersonal. Because tomorrow he’d be gone, and I’d be nothing more than a fun rebound story for him. Part of his big backpacking adventure.
“Are you okay?” Evan’s low voice sounded sensitive. Caring. Worried.
He was a nice guy.
The kind of guy who wanted to make slow, tender love then cuddle all night. I didn’t do all night. Or cuddling. I had hot sex and went on my way. It was better, safer, that way.
All night meant something else. Something I wasn’t ready for. Something I realized I hadn’t been ready for since Justin.
Evan made me feel special and beautiful and like I deserved more than just a fuck. Out here in the middle of nowhere, with shooting stars falling all around, it was intoxicating. He was intoxicating.
I wanted to be the person he thought he saw, at least for a little while. But that didn’t mean it was safe to let this get all emotional. I didn’t deserve anything more than I could give. If we were going to do this, I couldn’t let him into anything other than my body. Not any more than I already had.
“I’m sorry, Jules.” Evan’s fingertips drifted along my cheekbone. “Did I do something wrong?”
I shook my head, hoping he’d stop touching me like that. Hoping he wouldn’t. “You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not you, it’s me.”
“It’s okay. We don’t have to do anything else. We can just lay here and watch the stars fall and it’ll still be the best night of my life.” He stroked my hair gently, and I fought the urge to lean into his hand like a cat desperate for attention.
Shifting and tugging, he moved me off him and tucked me against his side. One hand wrapped tight around my shoulders, the other caressed my face, my neck, my arm. It was sweet. He was sweet. Too sweet. And too romantic. And nice. And sexy.
I pressed my cheek into his chest and squeezed my eyes shut fighting against the rush of memories of other moments too much like this one. His spicy, masculine scent swirled around in my head.
It’s probably better this way. He’s not Justin and he never will be—even if he sticks around longer than tomorrow.
SUPERSTAR has the honor of being the story it took Beth Henderson the longest to write and was also the longest story she’s ever written. But Paul Montgomery walked into her head in the late 1980s when she was still unpublished and he was nothing like any of her previous heroes, not like those that would follow him once she landed that first publishing contract. His story was different, too. As one of her co-workers gasped when reading early pages of the tale, “Your hero has feet of clay!” He did things he’d soon regret, but they simply made the story much more interesting to write because Henderson didn’t know what he might do next! Because she had snagged contracts to write romantic comedy, and Paul’s story didn’t fit that category, she kept putting his story aside. It would collect dust for years. But when he began whispering in her ear again…she went back to work with him. The story’s time period spans decades, 1964 to 1994, to be precise. However, it also took Henderson nearly thirty years to write it. Now she rereads it a couple times a year because she misses hanging out with Paul. https://www.amazon.com/SUPERSTAR-Beth-Henderson-ebook/dp/B014A0O8P8
Here is a snippet from SUPERSTAR by Beth Henderson
Much as he hated to admit it, Tom was right about his music. It sold, but it could be better. He could see a difference in the songs he’d been writing.
Jim Gordon’s hitch would be up in a matter of days. That meant getting the band back together. Or, rather, replacing the missing members.
Jim had a good feel for people. He’d be able to find the right men to fill the void.
It would be great to see Jim again. Not for the first few weeks. If Jill was any indication, the Gordons wouldn’t surface from their bed for a month.
He was surprised to find her sitting on his porch when he got home.
“Got a drink for a thirsty friend?” she asked.
The girl who’d worn a bridal glow of anticipation was gone. He wondered what had changed her into the stoically stiff woman who waited on his stoop, her eyes hallowed by dark sleepless circles.
“Sure,” he said, unlocking the door. “What’re you drinking?”
“Gin. How’s Tom?” She followed him inside, taking a seat on one of the bar stools in his tiny kitchen.
“Close minded as ever.”
“Another rotten grade?”
“I’m improving. He condescended to give me a C this time.”
Jill accepted her drink and sipped it. “Show him any of the new stuff?”
“I don’t want to depress myself,” he said. “What’s up, Jilly? Hear from Jim yet?”
She buried her nose in her glass, making a negative sound as she drank.
“Don’t forget Bobbie’s pool baptism is this weekend.”
Jill nodded and finished off her drink. “I haven’t forgotten,” she said. “Could I have another?”
It wasn’t like her to resort to booze. He wondered what had happened to send Jill hot foot to the bottle. It hadn’t been her first drink of the day, he realized. Her eyes were blood shot, red and puffy. As if she’d been crying.
She finished off half the second glass before she handed him the telegram.
Jill took the bottle from his hand and poured another couple fingers into her glass. “The chaplain helped me fill out the papers yesterday,” she said. Her voice was as steady as if she were handling a business contract. It was crisp, devoid of emotion. “I chose a private ceremony.”
“Sweet Jesus. When did you get this?”
She studied her glass. “Two days ago. His body arrived today.”