Sabrina Devonshire

 

sabrina devonshire

SABRINA DEVONSHIRE AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Sabrina Devonshire, an avid swimmer most of her life, can usually
be found near or immersed in a body of water. If she’s not seeking
an endorphin rush in a pool, lake or ocean, she’s usually writing
or practicing yoga.

She received a John Woods Scholarship and an Arizona Commission of
the Arts Professional Development Grant toward her participation
in a 2007 Prague Summer Program writing workshop. She also studied
writing in Arizona and northern California and has an M.S. degree
from the University of Arizona.

Sabrina loves traveling to off-the-beaten-path places where
outdoor adventure awaits. She especially enjoyed Peru, Belize,
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Greece. Sabrina lives in southern
Arizona with her husband. They are planning to live as expats
somewhere south of the border and fun in the near future!

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, AWARDS/ACHIEVEMENTS (AMAZON BEST SELLER, ETC.)

RWA

Saguaro Romance Writers (Local Tucson, Arizona RWA chapter)

ASMSG

I also am the administrator for the Sizzling Hot Retweet Group on Facebook

GENRE(S)

Romantic Suspense

Erotic Military Romance

SABRINA DEVONSHIRE SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page

GoodReads Author Page

Website

Twitter

SABRINA DEVONSHIRE BOOKS

amalfi affair

AMALFI AFFAIR

Navy Seals of Valor 1

Excerpt:

Olivia is dining with her tour group of cyclists when she sees Darryl…

The handsome man she’d seen at the pool earlier strode out on the patio and waited to be seated. Form-fitting jeans hugged his muscular thighs and a gray T-shirt clung to his ripped-as-hell chest. Damn. His attire was inappropriate, but it sure looked hot.

Her view of him was temporarily blocked when the waiter arrived with a tray of plates. Olivia’s mouth watered the instant he set her plate in front of her. Three small lamb chops, still attached to slender bones, were haloed by small oval potatoes and mixed vegetables. Herbs decorated the plate. She sliced a piece from the bone, savoring the taste. She hardly had to chew the meat because it was so tender it practically dissolved in her mouth.

She closed her eyes to savor the flavor and felt the man’s eyes on her. She looked up from her plate to see him watching her. She nodded in his direction and realized the grin on her face must have looked giddy and childish.

“You fancy him, don’t you?” Colin nudged her shoulder.

“Fancy who?” Olivia resented the heat that rushed to her face. If the others suspected her interest, they’d undoubtedly tease her and the man would assume she was desperate for a date.

Colin’s blue eyes flickered and the corners of his mouth turned up in a mischievous smile. “That bloke who’s been checking you out the past five minutes, that’s who.”

Olivia draped her fingers around her wineglass and raised it to her mouth, thinking about how it would feel to be held tight by the man’s rippled muscles. “I’m not interested.”

“Hmm.” Colin sunk his fork into his steak and carved off another piece.

“He’s not for me. The man doesn’t even know how to dress appropriately.”

Colin glanced toward the man before meeting her gaze. “That’s true. He must have connections here or they’d probably throw him out for violating the dress code.”

A drop-dead gorgeous, rule-breaking man could be nothing but trouble, thought Olivia. But she couldn’t stop glancing his way whenever she got the chance. She leaned toward unconventional herself so his dressing to suit himself instead of the expected way was anything but a deal-breaker.

Even though Olivia’s belly felt full enough to burst, she couldn’t resist ordering the crème brulee. It arrived in a custard dish garnished with a Chinese lemon, summer berries and small rounds of green tea ice cream.

“These desserts are to die for,” said Mimi through a mouthful of chocolate cake.

Dario wrinkled his nose and spoke in an arrogant tone. “I’m too full to eat anything else.”

Colin gave Peter a here we go again look and cleared his throat. “All righty then, let’s talk about tomorrow’s ride.”

“Yes, we have a beautiful ride in store for you tomorrow.” Peter spread a map out on the table for them to see.

Olivia was impressed at how quickly the guides shifted the mood in a more positive direction. In a matter of seconds, everyone was listening and asking questions about the next day’s ride to Cols de Pillars, Col de la Croix and Villars-sur-Ollon.

Once the group pushed back their seats and rose to leave, Colin pointed toward the bar. “Anyone fancy to join Peter and me for some after dinner drinks? It’s the perfect way to ease sore muscles.”

“Sure. I’ll hang out with you for a while,” said Olivia.

Although his comment elicited some chuckles, the other riders declined the offer.

“Don’t be sitting between us now,” Colin said once they entered the bar. His blue eyes flickered with mischief. “You need to leave space in case that bloke you’re hot on shows up.”

“Would you stop?” Olivia said laughing as heat flooded her face. She slid into a barstool beside Colin while Peter sat on the other side of him.

“I appreciate your concern for my lack of a love life, but I can pick up men on my own.”

The two men ordered beer and Olivia ordered a glass of Chasselas wine.

They’d just begun to sample their drinks when Colin bounced out of his seat. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to run to the loo.”

Olivia found it odd that he’d rushed off so suddenly. She turned toward Peter to speak to him, but his phone chimed and he strode away to take the call. She glanced around the almost empty room.

A couple sat three barstools away, hips touching. Fingers massaged bare flesh, lips grazed over cheeks and whispered words were exchanged. An aching throb between Olivia’s thighs reminded her how long it had been since male fingers had skimmed over her bare flesh and her erogenous zones had been tended to. It isn’t going to happen tonight. She uncrossed her legs and sighed, wishing the guides would return so she wouldn’t be alone.

A deep masculine voice broke into her reverie. “May I buy you a drink? I saw you at the pool earlier. Not only are you beautiful, but you look like you’d be fun to talk to.”

She bit back a smile as she realized why Peter and Colin had disappeared. Those two are just too much. Olivia turned to see the drool-worthy man standing so close she could reach out and touch him. Wavy reddish-brown hair framed a chiseled face. Sexy dimples accented his full lips. A white scar marred the tanned skin above one of his eyebrows. His yellow-flecked emerald eyes were nothing short of mesmerizing. He wore a worn Stanford University T-shirt and faded jeans that hugged muscular thighs and a more-than-adequate package. I can’t believe you looked. Her voice caught in her throat and for a moment she forgot to breathe.

Despite the fact that his attire contradicted the five star hotel dress code; every item he’d chosen to wear suited him perfectly. A suit or a tie would have ruined his signature look, which was breathtakingly masculine.

She realized she’d gawked too long when he crossed his muscular arms over his chest.

“Oh, yes, of course, have a seat.” Olivia waved a trembling hand in his direction.

“Thank you.” He extended his hand toward her, initiating a handshake. “I’m Darryl Jennings.”

Remaining seated so she wouldn’t look too eager, she fidgeted and reached for his hand. “Olivia Simpson.” She hoped he didn’t detect the nervous tremor in her voice. His fingers laced firmly through hers and he seemed in no hurry to let go. Warm tingles raced up her arm. The sudden attraction astounded her, but then she brushed it off as inevitable. Any woman would go wild for him. The man was so hot; he could melt chocolate. Hell, her hand felt like it was about to melt and drip onto the floor.

“What are you drinking?” Darryl asked as he sat with his legs apart in the barstool beside her.

His jeans showcased his muscular thighs. She forced herself to blink and glance away from the bulging mound behind his zipper. You’re looking at it again. She cleared her raspy throat, feeling dizzy from the electric energy hovering in the air. Olivia ached to reach out and touch Darryl’s rock-solid shoulder. All his sexy muscles were just inches away. “The Chasselas. But I’m fine for now.” She picked up her half-full wine glass and the liquid sloshed in her trembling hand.

“Have another. This is the kind of place you should live a little.” Darryl turned toward the bartender, giving Olivia a scenic view of his broad, muscular back. Speaking in French, he ordered her wine and a German beer. His energy and the way he carried himself radiated self-confidence despite the fact that his outfit suggested he belonged in a sports bar instead of a five star Swiss resort.

He turned back toward her, placing a large strong hand on the counter in front of them. The dimples bracketing the margins of his handsome mouth deepened. The flexing muscles around the man’s mouth just screamed I’m in the mood to fuck. Or maybe it was just that she found them so damn sexy. Olivia’s heart thumped like a kettledrum in her chest.

She opened her mouth and promptly forgot what she’d planned to say. All of her blood was making a beeline south of the border. Fortunately, Darryl broke the awkward pause with another question.

 “So where are you from?”

Olivia had banked a repertoire of lies for occasions like this. Darryl’s attentive gaze suggested a high intellect. She’d have to be careful with him. She could mention her Ohio apartment since she rarely occupied it. She’d change the city name to be on the safe side.

She attempted to sound casual and relaxed, a damn difficult task when every nerve ending in her body felt like it might burst into flames. “I’m from the States. I live in Worthington—near Columbus, Ohio.”

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Amalfi affair

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czech mate

CZECH MATE

Navy Seals of Valor 2

Excerpt:

Wearing dark sunglasses, Baylee Stiles squinted to block out more of the blinding desert sunlight as she strode toward the Exchange. She looked beyond the ugly rows of buildings toward the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kush Mountains. For a minute, she forgot the perpetual taste of dust and imagined she was skiing with her friends in Vail, Colorado. Gazing at the pristine snow of those peaks, she could almost feel the bite of cold on the tip of her nose.

Swirling dust from the barren ground made her sneeze. She reached into her uniform pants for a tissue, blew her nose and then glanced at her watch.

She had thirty minutes to grab a few items and rush off to a four o’clock meeting. A bombing raid had been planned for o two hundred the next morning and she and the other pilots would discuss every phase of the operation during the pre-mission briefing.

After yanking open the front door, she picked up a plastic carrier and glanced at her list—energy bars, electrolyte drinks, deodorant. She pushed her cart toward the drink shelves. She balanced on her toes, straining to reach the row of plastic bottles on the top shelf when she spotted a man out of the corner of her eye.

Her knife sharp mind processed his features in a split second. Jet black hair, dark complexion, olive green hat pulled low over the eyes, a uniform that looked more like a Halloween costume than official attire. He doesn’t belong here.

He must have seen the fear in her eyes because in a split second, the man jerked his head in her direction and pulled a pistol from his waistband.

His voice an ominous whisper, he glided her way and dug the nose of the gun into her ribs. “Don’t move or I’ll blow your guts all over the floor.”

His breath reeked of sour cigarette smoke. Baylee’s heart thundered inside her chest. As an Air Force pilot, she was accustomed to conducting bombing raids, not dealing with weapon wielding maniacs up close and personal. I’m as tough as anyone on the ground, she told herself. I can handle this.

She knew she was lying to herself. She’d done that constantly since Tyler’s death. “What do you want?” The confident, in-control voice she projected masked the terror simmering inside her.

The man gripped her arm with a rough hand and shoved her toward the front door. “Just you as collateral for now. If you do what I say you’ll live.”

Her gut clenched. “Okay, fine. What do you want me to do?” She spoke calmly, as if he’d asked if she knew where the men’s clothing aisle was, not threatened to splatter her insides on the floor.

The man’s foul smelling breath blew hot in her ear. “Take me to the mission control center.”

Fuck. Baylee felt conflicted. She couldn’t lead this miscreant straight to where they stored maps of every intended target. How did he evade security? Bagram was usually tight as Fort Knox. She’d never heard of any unauthorized person getting through security during the six months she’d been on the base. She winced as metal jabbed her ribs again.

“What’s the matter with you? Are you deaf? If you want to live, you’ll move your ass.”

“I’m going.” Baylee took a hesitant step forward. All at once, a wall of muscle darted in front of her, obscuring her view of her attacker’s dark, menacing eyes. The butt of the pistol slid away from her rib cage and her assailant groaned. Her first thought was how large and strong her rescuer appeared and then her second was how rock solid his body felt as it struck her and knocked her to the ground.

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Czech Mate

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french kiss

FRENCH KISS

Navy Seals of Valor 3

Excerpt:

A woman wearing night vision goggles swept the heavy dark curtains aside and peered out the window of her Le Marais apartment. Manic laughter escaped her lips. Several uniformed men carrying bulky weapons crept around the perimeter of a two-story apartment across the street.

The American government must have deemed the Red Queen’s followers to be a major threat to send DEVGRU.

The best of the best of the SEALs or not—the men didn’t stand a chance. They had erroneously concluded that the Red Queen was dead and the leaderless insurgents had lost their edge.

The people who will scrape up what remains of their bodies will soon learn that I’m very much alive.

The SEAL team would raid the apartment to find it empty—well, almost empty, actually. She had planted a little gift for the American sailors that would blow them into a million bloody pieces.

She made a mock explosion sound and then laughed, thinking about her upcoming attacks that would make headlines in the next twenty-four hours.

She tugged down the hem of her tight black velvet dress, which clung to her stockings. Her blood-red stilettos clicked across the tile floor as she walked toward the marble-topped bar. She pulled a glass from a shelf above the counter, uncapped the bottles of gin and vermouth and stirred herself a strong martini, topping off the cocktail with an olive she had plucked from a jar in the small refrigerator.

She raised the glass in the air and extended her arm as if preparing to make a toast with an invisible person.

“To death,” she said in a Russian accent before tipping the clear crystal glass toward her lips. The first swallow rocketed through her bloodstream, making her feel pleasantly light-headed.

“Ahhh.” She gazed into the rectangle of mirrored glass that decorated the back of the bar, admiring her reflection. Flawless white skin scrubbed smooth every morning, long dark hair that gleamed with healthy radiance from hourly daily brushing and blood red lipstick that had become her new trademark once she had started impersonating her sister. Confusing people about their two identities had played a major role in her plan’s success.

They’ll be so shocked tomorrow when the body count soars.

She took another deep swallow of the potent drink, relishing the way the prisms hanging from the crystal chandelier and the oil paintings in gold leaf frames appeared to bob like floating objects on the sea as she walked back to the window.

Strong drinks are so invigorating. Almost as much as blood and death. She raised her glass in the air for another toast.

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French Kiss

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greek god

GREEK GOD

Navy Seals of Valor 4

Excerpt:

An evil smile crept over Farid’s face. He felt light-headed, almost delirious with excitement. It was an honor to be one of Allah’s chosen people, placed on Earth to establish a pure race of Muslims and to cleanse the world of the lesser beings. A thrill rushed through his veins every time he violently ended the life of an infidel. The time to rage war on the Americans has come. His heart beat faster as he imagined brutally slaying the men who had interfered with his purposeful mission of Jihad.

The three American Navy SEALs he’d been waiting for deplaned from their Dulles-to-Athens flight, two of them with women on their arms.

Nathan Brooks—resigned from the Navy in February of 2015 before being hired by the U.S. Department of State. Travels under dozens of different identities. The woman hanging on his arm is former Air Force Captain Baylee Stiles.

He’d managed to tail Brooks after a recent extraction mission in Syria. Eavesdropping on two of the bastard’s cell phone conversations gleaned him information about his plans to travel to Greece for a wedding.

He narrowed his eyes at the SEAL with the reddish-brown hair who walked with attitude as well as athletic grace, one arm slung around the shoulders of a very attractive brunette. Darryl Jennings—Petty Officer First Class with DEVGRU. He managed to keep his identity a secret until one of our IT analysts hacked into the flight list. Clinging to his arm is his fiancé and CIA agent, Olivia Simpson.

A third SEAL, nearly as muscle bound as Brooks, strode behind the other two men wearing a serious expression on his face. Karl Patterson—Petty Officer First Class. A man of few words. Appears to be highly intelligent. But not smart enough to know I’m studying every move he makes.

The three sailors had made a major tactical error traveling on a commercial flight. But they’d apparently wanted to travel like every day civilians to show their female companions a good time. Think they’re safe, do they? How wrong they are. Farid burst out into maniacal laughter, inciting uneasy stares from passengers walking past him. The fear he saw in their eyes gave him a jolt of pleasure.

Brooks and his other American SEAL, Delta, and Green Beret compatriots had delivered several lethal blows to Muslim Alliance terror operations. The fear their organization had instilled in the American public had begun to subside. Once we make an example out of these men, every U.S. citizen will suffer from night terrors. Farid cackled out loud, covering his mouth to muffle his laughter.

The travelers in the Athens airport would be permitted to board their tour buses so they could go to the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus and buy trinkets from shops along the steep narrow streets. No death would come to them today. The three SEALs would be safe for now. Only later would they suffer the consequences for what they’d done. I could gun them all down at this moment if I wanted to. The fake flight attendant badge he’d obtained with a hefty bribe kept him clear of the X-ray machines. But that would ruin all the fun.

A sudden death for Brooks, Jennings and Patterson would be too quick and comfortable. He wanted to watch them suffer. He would insert the knife in the gut and metaphorically twist it over and over again by torturing and killing their women.

The analytical and quiet Patterson seemed to be a lone ranger, but Jennings and Brooks were—what was that American term so often used? Oh, yes, pussy whipped. As they walked toward baggage claim, Jennings clung to his wife-to-be, Olivia Simpson. Brooks and his girlfriend, Baylee Stiles, locked lips so often, they stumbled more than walked. I’m sure they’ll fuck each other’s brains out the minute they get to their hotel.

Of the two women, Stiles irritated him the most. He wasn’t sure if it was her shrill voice or her assertive, unfeminine mannerisms. Her almost white blond hair and the scattered freckles on her face made her look fragile and dainty, like a woman should be. But her true personality was that of a bold aggressor, a no-good slut. He’d initially planned to snatch Olivia, but listening to Baylee’s raucous laughter was enough to change his mind. He narrowed his eyes at the fair-headed woman and every muscle in his body twitched with hatred.

Get ready to die, bitch.

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Greek God

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dangerous descent

DANGEROUS DESCENT

Love In The Labyrinths

Excerpt:

PREFACE November 27, 2007

Rebecca Devereaux pointed toward a cliff of snow-dusted rocks and then turned toward her twelve resort guests. She was leading her hikers on a slow trek along Old Baldy Trail toward the top of ten-thousand-foot Mt. Wrightson in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

“You wouldn’t have seen any snow here millions of years ago when this whole area was rife with explosive volcanoes. Most of these rocks spewed out during the time of the dinosaurs.”  A puff of cold-air smoke appeared in front of her face and the sweet scent of Ponderosa pines tinged her nostrils.

She led them on to Josephine Saddle, her favorite resting place. “Good job, everyone. Lets take a twenty-minute break.”

Rebecca dropped her backpack into the dirt and wiped her brow with a bandana. Despite the cold fall weather, shed worked up a sweat. Her tired hikers sagged onto rocky outcrops and cold ground padded with pine needles. “Be sure to drink some water. It’s easy to get dehydrated here in the desert.”

People visiting from New York and New Jersey, whose workouts consisted of thirty minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike, werent accustomed to walking for hours in an arid desert.

Rebecca leaned down to tug her water bottle from her pack when a woman with a New York accent shouted, “Oh my God.”

Rebeccas muscles tensed as she whipped her head around in time to see Steve Jones, a famous big-screen star, crumple to the ground. She stifled a gasp and rushed to his side, rolled him over on his back and tapped on his chest. Dirt and leaves stuck to his sweaty face.

Rebeccas heart pounded in her chest. “Steve, are you all right?” His head fell limply to the side and his usually handsome face flushed to asphyxiation purple.  Holy shit. Shed dealt with cuts, sprains and strains on a weekly basis. Those were no big deal. But a heart attack was different. She knew she had to work quickly.

She listened for breathing and placed two fingers against his carotid artery feeling for a pulse. Oh god.

Rebecca knew EMS wouldnt reach them for hours. She pulled her cell phone from her pocket and handed it to a middle-aged woman beside her who stared unblinking, her mouth agape.  “Jane, I need you to call nine-one-one. Tell them its a heart attackno breath, no pulse. And that were at the Josephine Saddle on Mt. Wrightson.”

Rebecca turned her attention back to Steve. She blew into his mouth before locking her arms, placing the heel of her hand on his sternum and compressing his chest. “One, two, three,” she said out loud. Intermittently she checked for a pulse.

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Dangerous Descent

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the unseen

THE UNSEEN

Love In The Labyrinths

Excerpt:

Dong Hoi Airport, Quang Province, north central coastal Vietnam, June 28, 2008

Rebecca washed her hands and dried them before heading for the restroom exit. Male voices broke into her thoughts. Rebecca gasped and pressed her ear to the door to listen.

“I never thought we’d be back in Vietnam again,” said a man.

“I’m still having nightmares about the guys we lost. But I owe my life to Kent’s dad. When he mentioned his son was in trouble, I was ready to get on the next plane. And this could turn out to be one hell of a mission.”

“Yeah, really. Who could imagine we’d be back here chasing down gemstone smugglers convinced that aliens or people with supernatural powers once visited this cave. Even if Mountain River Cave doesn’t turn out to be the largest cave, it’s got to be the weirdest one on Earth.”

These must be those buff looking older men we saw deplaning a few minutes ago. Rebecca couldn’t wait to share what she’d learned with the others.

On a whim, she and her best-friend Amanda had quit their Tucson jobs to join famous geologist Kent Dunbar on a caving expedition to Vietnam’s Phong Na-Ke Bang National Park. The minute they’d met, Rebecca had found the ruggedly handsome scientist almost as irresistible as he was irritating. And he’d apparently found her equally alluring because within days, they were making love every chance they got.

When gemstone smugglers had killed three men near their camp and later kidnapped Bunny, one of the female assistants, Kent had called an end to the mission–and their relationship. Or so he said…

She, Amanda and Bunny were scheduled to fly back to the U.S. on the next flight. Rebecca strode from the restroom toward airport security, her clenched fists itching to punch the man she shouldn’t have fallen for. She huffed out an irritated sigh. Macho man thinks he’s too tough for us. We’ll see about that.

Now she realized why the man who had declared he would never let her go had suddenly treated their relationship like another that-was-great-now-it’s-over fling. He was just trying to protect me. So why am I so damned pissed?

His lie bruised her pride, but not nearly as much as it wounded her heart. She’d imagined the special connection between them would never be broken.

Ever since he’d called a halt to their relationship the previous evening, her chest had ached, nausea had replaced her usually healthy appetite, and lethargy had made her body feel as heavy as clay. She’d never felt so overwrought over a relationship before. She raised her arms and let the guard frisk her before sprinting toward Amanda and Bunny. They stood in line, waiting to board the Vietnam Airlines flight.

“Wait, we have to talk.” The sprint and the oppressing, humid air left Rebecca hunched over, panting for breath.

“It’s about time you got back here. What took you so long?” Amanda tugged on her blonde ponytail anxiously with one hand, holding her boarding pass and passport in the other. “It’s already last call for boarding. And there’s only a few people left in the line.”

Bunny had her iPod volume so loud, Rebecca could almost make out the tune. Her eyes closed, she mimed the words. While Rebecca and Amanda had barely run a brush through their hair, Bunny looked like she’d just stepped out of the beauty parlor. Her thick, reddish-brown hair was styled and sprayed and she’d applied mascara and bright red lipstick.

When the man in front of them handed his ticket to the attendant, Bunny stopped bopping to her music and removed her ear buds. “Don’t we need to board?” She reached into her purse for a pocket mirror, popped it open and studied her reflection.

The airline attendant stood nearby, watching them. She motioned for them to approach. “Plane leaving soon.”

Rebecca patted Bunny’s arm. “Yes, Bunny. You go ahead—Amanda and I need to talk for a minute.”

Bunny shrugged. “Well, hurry up. I don’t know about you two, but I’m ready for a good long day at the spa.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Rebecca pulled her boarding pass out of her pocket and ripped it in half. Amanda drew in a shocked breath. Bunny dropped her mirror and it shattered on the floor.

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The Unseen

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mai tai man

MAI TAI MAN

Excerpt:

My legs and lower torso submerged, I traced circles through the warm, sensual water with my toes as I sat at the bar at the Mazatlán resort. I drank down the Mai Tai in front of me quickly, wanting it to slow my mind’s tempo so I’d stop thinking what a romantic vacation this could have been…if I hadn’t just been dumped.

Surrounded by lush green coconut palms, the bright blue swimming pool–almost large enough to call a lake—descended from one level to another with tumbling waterfalls. My bar stool and the tile counter my elbow rested on vibrated as loud music boomed over nearby speakers.

Several steps below the pool and jungle of trees, the beach, rocky in places, swung around in an arc accenting the blue green Pacific Ocean. Lines of pelicans glided across the sky. Heavy clouds hung low on the horizon, suggesting rain might be blowing in. It was, after all, hurricane season, but my college friends said I shouldn’t worry—the worst I should expect was a soggy day or two. Now that I was vacationing alone—instead of with Jason—heavy drinking was at the top of my itinerary anyway. I’ll need the rainy days to sleep off the hangover.

Four Mai Tai’s later, I probably couldn’t have spelled Jason’s name, let alone reflected on the misery of our breakup. I floated away on an alcohol high—I could almost picture myself as one of those pelicans gliding endlessly—first in an I and then a V formation across the sky. And that image temporarily distracted me from painful memories of Jason saying he wanted to see other people and my being stupid enough to ask why.

A man with startling green eyes and a to-die-for physique swam over and sat on the barstool beside me. Wavy, reddish-brown hair hung in wet locks well below his shoulders. My heart rate accelerated. I responded to his, “Hi there. Mind if I join you for a drink?” with a shrug and a curt nod. Men are nothing but trouble. I won’t talk to him.

I turned my head away from him, gazing toward the ocean. The sky above the billowing storm clouds on the horizon ignited a brilliant orange and pink.

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Mai Tai Man

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My_Professor_La_Jolla

MY PROFESSOR AND THE LA JOLLA METEORITE CRATERS

Excerpt:

Wise Jane suggested we carpool to the class. She knows me too well. If we weren’t traveling together, I would have called her an hour before class, saying I’m so sorry, but I’m not going to be able to make today’s class. Then I would moan that I’d been stricken by the worst menstrual migraine, my tooth ached, or my garage door wouldn’t open.

We strode into the building and sat at adjacent desks arranged in a semi-circle around what I presumed was Professor Justin’s desk. I feigned sending text messages, occasionally glancing up to check out my classmates. Two elderly women walked into the room together and sat side by side, their shoulders hunched over their desks, their legs crossed. Several college-aged students sauntered in, including a Hispanic girl with a flawless olive complexion and long iron-straightened hair. Another girl with a tiny heart-shaped face and a miniature body to match it wore makeup so thick, I wanted to ask if she’d spread it on with a knife. A handsome man with a football player’s physique dropped into a chair. He looked like Jennifer’s type. His curly dark hair looked like it hadn’t seen a brush for days and a five o’ clock shadow darkened his face even though it was only nine in the morning.

Three of us comprised the professional crowd. We wore too many wrinkles to belong to the Hello-Fresh-Face collegiate crowd but looked far too stressed-out to be retired. I was the one with lines etched into my forehead, while Jennifer had bitten her nails down to the quick. The balding man sitting beside me nervously plucked hairs from his brows. It was Zoloft we needed, not a writing class. But Jennifer just didn’t get it.

Justin Lincoln’s entrance broke into my people-watching moment. His tall physique was lean and muscular, and damp unruly blond curls fell below his shoulders. Either he had washed his hair recently or he’d just worked out. Maybe an episode of intercourse dampened his hair, I thought, before I covered my flushed face with my hand and pretended to study papers on my desk.

Once my face cooled, I cautiously glanced up. He wore knee-length khaki shorts with threads hanging loose, a black crew neck T-shirt and a pair of Brooks running shoes. California was way more casual than the East Coast, but this guy gave a whole new meaning to the word. Maybe next week, he’ll show up in his underwear. The image made me laugh, which sent several pairs of eyes looking my way, so I coughed to make my burst of psychotic behavior appear less awkward. When Jennifer glanced at me curiously, I shrugged.

He pulled a stack of papers from his black backpack and introduced himself. “I’m Justin Lincoln.” He continued speaking and walked toward me. The gold flecks in his emerald green eyes captivated my attention. I blinked and tried unsuccessfully to look away from him.

Just when I expected him to drop the pile of papers on my desk and say take one and pass them around, he handed a sheet of paper directly to me. As he did, our fingers touched. A warm tingle flowed up my arm leaving me feeling light headed. When I glanced up, his gaze lingered on mine for longer than necessary. As my pulse raced, my once reasoning brain began thinking like a love-sick teenager. The calm and collected scientist that I am, I allowed the paper to slip from my quivering hands. Blushing, I snatched it from the floor.

I’m a research scientist at one of the most prestigious oceanographic institutions in the world. So why can’t I hold onto a simple piece of paper?

Once Justin finished passing out papers, he reviewed the syllabus line by line. The rubber soles of his shoes squeaked as he paced. Every other week, we would bring in copies of our work for the class to critique, he explained.

Justin’s eyes followed me over the top of his black rectangular reading glasses as I leaned over and whispered, “What the hell did you get me in to?” into Jennifer’s ear.

“Is there a problem, um…” He glanced through his pile of papers before saying, “Miss Jones? Or do you mind if I call you Marissa?” How the hell did he know my name?

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Ocean Swimmer

OCEAN SWIMMER

Excerpt:

The starting gun sounded and Luke sprinted into the ocean, kicking water everywhere until the density of the water overcame him and it was more efficient to swim than run. A fingernail jabbed his calf. A toe struck his face, partially filling his goggles with water. He slapped arms with another swimmer on a recovery. Luke plowed through the water with all the gusto he could muster to break away from the mass. He planned to tag along behind the lead pack after he freed himself from the mire.

He kicked harder, propelling his body through the water like a speedboat. This is more like it, he thought, as surrounding swimmers dropped back. Soon, only the five swimmers he expected to see remained. The lead pack. Mark matched him stroke for stroke as they drafted off of Mike Hammel, the leader. Jeff felt a tap on his toe. Andy McCleery.

You have to keep a cool head to push yourself to the max for almost two hours. Every swimmer was in top physical condition. The man who crossed that finish line first would be the one who shut down the chatter inside his head that taunted him with my arms ache, my legs are cramping, or I can’t handle that searing pain in my lungs for another second and kept on plowing through the water like there was no tomorrow. Luke wanted to be that man.

He swam in the wake of bubbles behind Mike’s feet—his perceived effort much easier with the draft. Luke felt strong and powerful. Like Hercules. This is why I keep coming back. On land, the world is a crazy, chaotic place. Here, it all comes down to the water and me.

He felt the most like himself in the ocean. Once he got into the rhythm of his stroke and turned up the heat, he felt like anything was possible. Winning the race. Qualifying for the London Olympic Games in 2012. Winning a gold medal.

After three laps around the course, Luke knew it was time to turn it up. He had 2.5 kilometers left to pass the leader and duke out the sprint to the finish line with the toughest members of the field. Luke passed Mike, but Mark was right with him. I can do it, Luke told himself. He surged a little ahead of Mark, but it didn’t last for long.

Mark caught right up with him again and they swam so close together, Luke heard Mark’s winded breathing and their fingers smacked together more than once. Luke fought to push through the pain. After swimming six miles, he’d nearly drained his physical tank.

A burning heaviness overwhelmed his limbs. Fire surged down his throat with each breath. But he never lost sight of what he wanted. He wanted to win. So he never backed down. He pushed, pushed, pushed with only meters left until the finish. Come on, come on. Get it done. He took twenty strokes without a breath, only lifting his head to slap the touch pad. Only then did Jeff realize he’d missed the win by just tenths of a second.

Darn! His best friend, Mark, had just out-touched him. Standing in waist-deep water, Jeff offered him a congratulatory handshake. “Good job, buddy.”

“That was one hell of a swim,” said Mark. He stopped for a moment to brace his arms on his thighs.

“You can say that again. Racing you about killed me,” Luke said as he gasped for breath.

Mark held his arms up in victory once he stepped into the sand and headed toward his wife, Monica. Luke’s eyes roved over the woman standing beside her. Wow. He blinked water from his eyes to get a better look.

A tower of dark hair was piled on top of her head. The sea breeze blew a few renegade strands against her small, heart-shaped face. She’s lovely. Her skin looked pale and smooth, like a polished stone. Her full and pouty lips raised his heart rate all over again. Luke wished he could taste those sumptuous lips. Did I just think that? Get a grip.

She didn’t look like a swimmer or an athlete. Instead of lean and muscular, her body curved in all the right places. Yet she looked fit. Her breasts look like ripe fruit. And her butt looks round, but firm. That’s the kind of behind you want to grab and squeeze. It must be the endorphins, he thought, shaking water from his ears and hoping it would clear his head. He chose looking down at the sand over the impolite staring he’d been doing.

Once he stepped nearer, Monica introduced Luke to Zoe. When he reached out to shake her hand, he gazed into her eyes for the first time. That’s when her dark eyes widened like saucers, she gasped and said, “Oh my God. It’s you.”

That phrase struck Luke speechless in a hurry. Is that good or bad? Do I remind her of a movie star or a mass murderer from America’s Most Wanted?

He stood there dazed as she ran from the beach. Even though her demeanor shouted crazed lunatic, that unpleasant and too familiar shot-put-ball-on-the-chest feeling overcame him. Come back, his mind pleaded.

“You really have a way with women,” said Mark.

“So it seems. Anyone have a clue what just happened?”

“Not me,” said Mark. “Monica, you talked to her, didn’t you? Did she seem a little off?”

“No, in fact I really liked her. I even invited her to the party tonight.”

Mark and Luke exchanged glances. “That should be interesting.” He hid the smile that quickly transformed into jumping-out-of-his-skin excitement. Crazy Dana was coming to the party. And he couldn’t wait to see her again.

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Seaside Seduction

SEASIDE SEDUCTION

Excerpt:

The sailor-take-warning weather put my senses on high alert—the sea air smelled like salt and fresh rain. The Sea of Cortez, usually glassy calm in the morning, was a mire of waves hooded in white. The sky glowed red with promise before the sun peeked above the horizon of choppy sea. Brilliant red clouds, bloated with rain, billowed in the pastel sky and fiery orange light danced across the sea. Even in January, temperatures tended toward balmy.

I downed a cup of potent Columbian coffee before calling my chief engineer. He and my office manager, Jocelyn, kept Gallero Avionics running whenever I escaped to my Cabo San Lucas villa. I had phone and Internet access and if urgent business came up, the flight to Tucson in my private jet barely exceeded an hour.

“Good morning, Michael.” After acknowledging my call, he asked what I wanted done. Fortunately, Michael shared my impatience with preamble. “I’m preoccupied with those tests. Are the engineers on site yet?”

The sun had risen high enough in the sky that spots appeared in front of my eyes whenever I blinked. I reached for my sunglasses and noticed movement in the water near the beach. Probably a whale or a dolphin.

“Yes, they arrived a while ago and have passed through security. Tests are slated to start in thirty minutes. I’m on my way down there now to make sure there are no delays.”

I couldn’t help smiling. The man knew how to get it done. He was well worth the seven figures I paid him. I’d figured all along I could have finished my three-mile run instead of cutting it short, but I preferred to be the man in control of his ship instead of the one slamming into an iceberg.

It had been the summer after college graduation when I built the first weapon control system prototype in my mom’s garage with money from a summer job and a research grant. Despite working two jobs, she had brought me tumblers of ice water on nights I worked late. There wasn’t any respite from the Arizona heat during the summer, even at night.

She had said if I used my sharp mind; I wouldn’t have to work labor jobs and barely scrape by like her and my car-mechanic father. Every time I looked into her fading blue eyes, unable to miss the purple circles underneath them, I vowed to work harder so I could achieve enough financial success to save her from my father’s fate.

“Thanks for being on top of it, Michael. These new aircraft fire control systems will be more versatile and accurate than anything pilots use in combat today. I need you to make sure they test out without a single failure so we can proclaim with confidence they’ll launch a variety of missiles and strike targets with one hundred percent accuracy. If they pass those standards, please schedule a demo at our Nevada site so our test pilots can show off for the commanders. If there are any glitches—no matter how minor—let me know right away so I can fly up there and take a look.”

“I’ll make sure that happens and get back to you as soon as I know more.” Michael’s voice was crisp and businesslike.

“I appreciate it, Michael.” I concluded the call, glanced at my watch and frowned. I’ll squeeze in a minute or two of whale watching before computing those profit margins. The Gray and Humpback whales migrated from Alaska to Cabo San Lucas during the winter season. I’d never tired of watching them.

I slid my binoculars out of the sleek leather case and fastened them to my eyes. Sunlight played over the rough water, glittering like diamonds. Eventually, I saw what I sought—a splash of water and the flick of an enormous two-pointed fish tail. A moment later, a tremendous blocky nose of a humpback whale rose from the water and crashed into the water with a splash. The sheer power and size of the whales impressed me.

That’s one way to take executive control. Outsize everyone else.

Two spouts of water shot into the air, thinning into a mist in the wind. Sudden movement in the lowest quadrant of my binoculars caught my attention. The jerky, desperate motions contrasted sharply with the fluid flow of dolphins, whales, turtles and other aquatic creatures I was accustomed to seeing.

The receding tide had exposed blocks of previously submerged granite. I focused my binoculars on the movement, zooming in on hands that fought the waves with frantic splashes and a head that periodically dipped beneath the surface.

I jumped up from my chair and bolted across the patio and down the stone stairs. After opening the wrought iron gate, I ran across the half a football field stretch of beach that separated me from the water.

A puffy dark thunderhead blotted out the sun. By now, I could see the woman with unaided eyes. She batted at the water once to raise her head before it splashed back down again and then she lay prone in the water, her body bobbing in the waves. She was losing the fight.

The sound of my breathing was lost in the wind as I sprinted toward the water like it was the one-hundred-yard-dash in the Olympics. Adrenaline surged through my body and brain as my feet scattered sand in every direction.

I clenched my teeth and pumped my arms to increase my stride. I’d found more than one sea-bloated body washed up on the beach. Too many tourists miscalculated, imagining an ocean plunge wouldn’t be much different from the pool and found themselves unprepared for sudden depth changes and currents. My lungs burned hot as I splashed into the cool clear water.

When the water reached my hips, I dove in and stroked toward the woman, who was twenty feet from the shore. I swam up beside her and, floating over the crest of a wave, scooped her up in my arms.

Her hair hung in soggy torrents around her stone-white face, and her swollen lips were a lifeless bluish purple. Her limp body sagged in my arms and the undulating ocean waves. I reached across her bikini-clad breasts, linking my arms around her to secure her in a cross-chest carry. I fanned my legs out, doing a powerful sidestroke kick toward shore.

When we reached waist deep water, I lifted her into my arms and carried her away from the reach of waves before laying her gently down onto the sand. As I kneeled beside her, I tried not to stare at the dark red nipple that had escaped from one side of her yellow bikini top.

I placed two fingers against the carotid artery on the long slim line of her neck and listened. Sensing a pulse but no breathing, I leaned over and blew into her mouth as I clipped her nostrils shut with two fingers.

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Sophia's Boss

SOPHIA’S BOSS

Office Interludes 1

Excerpt:

Sophia sprawled naked on her bed, her legs splayed, her eyes closed. In her dream, her ankles were tethered by silken scarves to the bedposts.

The hot-as-hell man with dark eyes and hair crouched over her, admiring every vulnerable inch of her. His hair was a tangled, sexy mass of curls. His eyes flashed from dark brown to a wicked gold and the hedonistic twist to his lips made it clear that he wanted her.

He studied her dripping opening with hungry eyes. His tongue slid across his full lips. “You’re dying for a good fuck, aren’t you?” he said more as a statement than a question before he slid a finger over her slick slit.

He lowered his head and his curls tickled her inner thighs. She gasped with pleasure as his warm tongue flicked over her inner thighs, sending shockwaves of heat through her body as it glided closer and closer to her throbbing sex. His tongue slid past her pulsing bud, moving up to her lower abdomen. His tongue circled her belly button and then thrust inside of it. Not there, she wanted to scream. She bucked up in frustration as the ache in her pussy built to the point of pain. “Please,” she cried out. “I can’t take it anymore.”

“You’re such a bad girl, Sophia. I should roll you over now and give you a sound spanking.”

She moaned as more heat surged to her pussy. A spanking always led to one thing. Him fucking her hard and hot from behind. “I can’t help it,” she gasped.

“I am very aware of that. And that’s why this time I’m going to give you just what you want. I want to make sure you are completely addicted to my tongue as well as my cock.”

Her dream man knew how to talk dirty. His words turned her on almost as much as everything he did to her. “Mmm,” she moaned. She felt his breath on her pussy first and then the flick of his tongue. She thrashed against the soft restraints as pleasure ripped through her body and her mind became a haze of delicious lusty delirium. “Oh, yes. Moooore. Please don’t stop.” The cell phone on the nightstand buzzed.

Her eyes flew open. Her cell phone vibrated. She glanced at the clock radio on her nightstand. Two AM. Talk about bad timing.

Bad timing or not, middle of the night texts and calls were hardly a surprise after years of working in the Information Technology field. Sophia was a Network Operations Manager. And that meant being on call 24/7. If the phone buzzed instead of ringing, it signaled a text message. If there was an outage and the issue wasn’t quickly resolved by someone on her IT team she received a call.

Few text messages required immediate action. More than likely this text was a notification about one of the hundreds of networks configured to communicate with her automatically if it went down or came back online. Often a network would go down for a few minutes when a provider performed routine maintenance or an upgrade. These procedures were necessarily done during off-hours. If only the damn notification could have waited until after the mind-shattering orgasm. She’d been just seconds away from shouting out her release. Whatever the text was about, it could wait.

Sophia closed her eyes and slid a hand down between her open legs. As she flicked a finger over her clit, she tried to imagine her dream man touching her. She saw the faint outline of his sturdy jaw line, but then another insistent buzz wiped away the image. “Damn it.”

She launched herself out of bed and snatched the phone off of her dresser. She quickly scrolled through the texts. A network had gone down and then the buzz she’d just heard was it coming back online again. She sighed. It was exactly as she’d expected: a non-urgent issue. “I’m ready to flush this goddamn phone down the toilet,” she said out loud.

She couldn’t remember her last uninterrupted night of sleep. It was tempting to silence the phone for one blissful night of sleep. But career came first for Sophia and she didn’t want to fail to respond in the event of an emergency. There had been several recent occasions where she’d had to call in support people or go to the DreamAway Headquarters or Saguaro Vista, the company’s Tucson hotel. Irrespective of the nature of the text, the rush of adrenaline that accompanied the sudden awakenings made it hard to get back to sleep again.

Rubbing her eyes, Sophia staggered into the kitchen and opened up the pantry. She grabbed a bottle of tequila and a shot glass from the top shelf. A shot should be enough to calm her sympathetic nervous system. She downed one shot and raised the bottle again, about to pour herself another. Quickly changing her mind, she set the bottle down and replaced the lid. She didn’t want to be hung over when she met the new IT Director tomorrow. The one who would be her new boss.

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Sophia’s Boss

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make your sex scenes sizzle

WORDS AND PHRASES

MAKE YOUR SEX SCENES SIZZLE

Words and Phrases: Make Your Sex Scenes Sizzle is a reference tool for authors to aid with the construction and revision of sex scenes. Writers of erotic romance, erotica, BDSM, contemporary romance, historical romance, or sci-fi romance will be able to resuscitate boring sex scenes and make them sizzle. This book includes an A through Z and sorted list of verbs, nouns, adjectives, and erogenous zone names. It also includes BDSM terminology and hundreds of sentences and phrases that will tempt and tantalize readers. Arm yourself with this reference which will help you deliver the sensual experience erotic romance readers crave.

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Make your sex scenes sizzle

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christmas collision

CHRISTMAS COLLISION

Excerpt:

Sleet pelted my windshield as I drove on US-23 North. My exams had finally ended, and I’d left the OSU campus for Flint, Michigan an hour ago. Christmas was only four days away, yet the sight of holiday lights and people laughing and celebrating darkened my mood even more—even though that barely seemed possible. All I felt was a near hatred toward anyone who was the least bit happy. It didn’t seem fair that they should smile and laugh when I’d never been more miserable in my life. The only comfort was the dark, dreary, snow and sleet-laden sky, which matched my mood just perfectly.

Sleet pelted my windshield as I drove on US-23 North. My exams had finally ended, and I’d left the OSU campus for Flint, Michigan an hour ago. Christmas was only four days away, yet the sight of holiday lights and people laughing and celebrating darkened my mood even more—even though that barely seemed possible. All I felt was a near hatred toward anyone who was the least bit happy. It didn’t seem fair that they should smile and laugh when I’d never been more miserable in my life. The only comfort was the dark, dreary, snow and sleet-laden sky, which matched my mood just perfectly.

My father had died of cancer the day after Halloween. I’ll never understand how my always perfectly healthy father could have gotten sick. I couldn’t remember him every catching cold, ever taking a day off from work. He hadn’t known he was sick until a routine check up revealed his body was riddled with cancer.

I’d sat at his bedside with my mother during the days leading up to his death. My mother had been incoherent—constantly crying and sobbing and completely falling apart at the seams. I’d tried to comfort her, but she barely seemed to notice I was there. I wanted to dissolve into tears like she did, but for some reason I couldn’t. I just sat in that room, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, wanting to run out and never come back, the pit of my stomach feeling as if it was turning into stone. Everything I ate turned my stomach. It was as if once my father got sick, my health suddenly became vulnerable, too. Even after my father passed away, I’d continued losing weight, and whenever I’d shake off one cold, another one would take me down.

It wasn’t fair that my mother had to be left alone; I kept thinking to myself over and over again. Long lasting relationships were hard to find. The fact that my mom and dad found each other despite all life’s craziness, and then spent so many years together building a life just to have everything ripped apart made no sense at all. I felt so sorry for my mom. I should have told her how much I loved her, how I’d always be there for her, but I was suffering so much, I just retreated inside myself. I felt so alone, so desperate for someone to help patch me back together again.

During his final days, my father had been so heavily sedated; he barely recognized us and at times, he became paranoid and would ramble on about how we hadn’t paid our hospital bill and the nurses were going to roll him out onto the street. No amount of convincing would settle him down, but eventually, he lost the energy to fight. It had bad enough watching his mental state decline, but when he just laid there for hour after hour, not-talking, not eating and barely breathing, it was so much worse.

My father, who had always been so sturdy and strong, with his firm legs and broad back, who had always made his opinion known to everyone whether they wanted to hear it or not, had lost the fight. And now I was going home for Christmas—to an empty house where my parents had once lived their life together. My mother wouldn’t be there either, because she’d collapsed on the day of my dad’s funeral and ever since then she’d been in the hospital.

The thought of stepping into that hollow house that was once our home haunted me—the silence would greet me and remind me of death. And I’d see my father’s coats hanging in the closet, his favorite coffee in the pantry, and I’d probably still smell his cologne lingering in the air. But what choice did I have? The dorms were closed for the holidays, and I wanted to at least see my mom on Christmas.

She refused to speak or eat. The doctors were convinced if her condition didn’t change soon, she’d die, too. It had become clear that now that my dad was gone, she didn’t want to be here anymore either.

I want to give up too. In a way, sitting alone in my car felt like solace. Away from my roommate and crowded classrooms, I could finally break down and cry like I’d wanted to do for so long. I sobbed until every breath was a shuddering effort, allowing tears to flow freely down my face.

The sleet changed to snow as I veered off on I-75 toward Toledo. It was only three o’clock in the afternoon and the sky was already darkening. The weather report hadn’t looked good, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it. I didn’t much care whether I made it to Flint safely or not. There wasn’t a single thing I had to look forward to.

Maybe if it snowed hard enough, I’d get stranded in the middle of nowhere. I’d heard if you got cold enough, you could just go to sleep and never wake up. That sounded like sheer relief right now. I had lost one parent and now while everyone else was making merry and sipping wine, I’d have to sit at my mother’s bedside and watch her die too. I emptied out more of the wretched grief I’d held in for weeks.

As the weather worsened, I thought how foolish it had been for me to make this trip without even taking my 94 Honda Civic in for a check up. Who knew if it would even make it without breaking down? I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gotten the oil changed. I sighed. I just don’t care.

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Love_Rainforest

LOVE IN THE RAINFOREST

Excerpt:

Once I started college, I wrote my eleven-year old brother off as a baby. It wasn’t cool to hang around him anymore, so I pulled back from him.  Even when I went home for weekends, I would run up the stairs and shut my room door and listen to music or watch online videos and refuse to let him come in whenever he knocked. I know now it must have hurt him, but he never cried. Never even complained. And I tried not to notice the sadness I saw in the depth of his eyes.

That day he called was the first time since I’d left home that he begged for me to spend time with him. “Please, Samantha. You have to come with us. We never do anything together any more. There’s going to be this great exhibit at the Science Museum. I really want you to see it with me.”

His pleading made me feel trapped. I was an adult. It wasn’t cool to spend weekends with my family or to have an eleven-year old brother clinging to me. “I’m not going, Josh. I already told mom th–”

“Come on, Samantha. It will be fun.”

“Get over it. I’m not going. I’m in college now. I don’t have time to take stupid trips with a baby like you.”

“Fine, Samantha. I don’t know what has happened to you. You used to be fun to be around. Now you’re just mean. You’re a mean, nasty person and I don’t like you anymore.” And then he hung up. I never called him back. He’d made me feel  guilty for not wanting to go on the trip and for being who I had become, which I realized at that moment was an ugly, dark person. But those feelings were nothing that a few shots of tequila couldn’t cure.

I wish more than anything I could take back what I said. That even if I had turned down the offer, I would have told Josh we’d hang out another time. What I really wish I’d told him was that he was the best brother in the world and that I loved him more than I’ve ever loved anyone.

I have a recurring dream about being on that doomed plane. First I feel the sudden vibration. Then I hear my father’s frantic voice and my mother’s sobs and feel my brother’s sudden grip on my arm before he asks if he should be scared. And I tell him, no. We will be safe. Everything will be all right. And then everything turns black. And I wake up tangled in my sheets and drenched in sweat.

Is that how it was for them after those initial moments of terror? Sudden blackness? Did everything just end for my family at that moment or did they awaken like I did from my dreams? What did they see on the other side of the crash?

I increase my pace, pounding my feet into the muddy ground. I feel angry, confused. It’s hard to believe in God or heaven when you’ve lost everyone you loved in the blink of an eye. Too often I wish that I had been on that plane. Then I wouldn’t have to endure day after day of lonely torture.

The sudden impact of my head and torso against something hard and unforgiving jars me out of my thoughts.

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Love in the Rainforest

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Never Let You Go

NEVER LET YOU GO

Blurb:

For ten years, Sydney and her husband, Craig, tried to have a baby without success. Sydney is devastated when Craig tells her he’s met someone else. Desperate to escape, she books a flight to the Bocas del Toro Islands in Panama. She hopes the remote location will help her cope with being abandoned and her lost dream of becoming a mother. Her spontaneous decision brings about a surprising change in the course of her life.

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Never Let You Go

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