Monday, March 23, 2015

The Varsity Letter

The Princess received a varsity letter in swimming last night. Apparently, she’s a good swimmer. Now, before you go thinking I’m a horrible mother for thinking that, much less writing it here for the four of you to read, hear me out.

I think she’s the most amazing kid to walk this earth. She hangs my moon and her sister hangs my stars. In my eyes, she’s the brightest, kindest, strongest girl ever born. But I’m her mom. I’m supposed to think that.

She’s loved swimming since the time I decided to brave having people see my 6-month-post-baby body in a swim suit, signed up for a baby swim class and prayed that the pregnant woman who still wore a belt during those pregnancy classes I took wasn’t in it. She wasn’t, but lots of new parents with babies were. And the Princess was the only one in the class who laid back in my arms in the water, folded her arms behind her head, crossed her legs and went to sleep every time she entered the water.

All the other babies screamed or splashed or stiffened their bodies. The Princess smiled and drifted off to sleep. I thought she was amazing.

Once we graduated from baby swim/sleeping class, we moved onto actual swimming classes, where instead of sleeping, she had to learn to swim. Or as I said, not to drown. She took classes once a week, every week, until I was convinced that she could approach a body of water and not drown. We finally stopped in middle school. It takes a lot to convince me. But I sat and watched her swim and she was fast and smooth in the water. I thought she was amazing.

When she was about to enter high school, she told me she wanted to join the swim team. So we took private lessons ahead of time to make sure she was ready—I was pretty confident at that point she probably wouldn’t drown, but decided the extra money for swim lessons was worth it if it ensured it. It did and she didn’t. I watched her swim endless laps and thought she looked like a warm knife slicing through butter. I thought she was amazing.

She joined the swim team, and I was no longer allowed to watch her swim. Ever. Not a practice and not a meet. She went to practice six days a week and swam in a few meets. Having nothing to compare her to, I still thought she was amazing.

And then we had to take time off for back surgery and recovery. I won’t even say here how amazing I thought she was through all of that. I hope she’s never quite as amazing again.

She went back to the swim team this year very rusty. She had to relearn all of her strokes, since she no longer swam with a curved spine and that, apparently, affects everything. But she did it, and her coach thought she was amazing enough to get a letter.

It’s no longer just me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hot For Friday Weekly Blog Hop

Today I'm participating in the Book Boyfriend's Cafe weekly Hot For Friday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is "Hot Encounters." Below is an excerpt from my just-rereleased contemporary romance, Skin Deep:

She arranged and rearranged drawers and tools. The trailer contained three stations, each with its own make-up chair. A long table ran down one wall, with plenty of drawers for storage space. Well-lit mirrors hung above the table. Unable to find anything else to do, and convinced by the silence that everyone had to have left, she took out her keys to lock up. She jumped as a knock sounded at the door, the trailer rattled and a head peeked in.
“Oh, hi, John.” She expelled a deep breath and willed her heart to slow its frantic beat. “Do you need something?”
“No.” He entered and stood by the door. John Samuels played the lead. At almost six-foot three, he dwarfed the trailer and had to tip his head to fit. He folded his muscular arms across his chest and spread his feet apart. “Michelle told me you were not joining us tonight. I thought I would see if I could change your mind.”
Valerie rolled her eyes. “She’s persistent.”
“You noticed.” John’s dark eyes twinkled. His mouth widened with a ghost of a smile. Valerie tried not to gasp.
He reminded her of a rugged cowboy — broad-shouldered, with a prominent brow, dark piercing eyes, high cheekbones, and a cleft chin. When he smiled, even a slight trace of one, his eyes looked like liquid velvet and his dimples twinkled like stars in the night sky. A five o’clock shadow covered his cheeks. Her fingers itched to brush against their rough texture, to tease his mouth into a full-blown grin.
“So, what can I say to make you join us?”
As he leaned against the wall in well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt that left nothing to the imagination, Valerie’s mind said, “Sleep with me.” Heat crept up her neck, over her cheeks and continued to the roots of her hair. A thin sheen of sweat dampened the space between her breasts. She felt the sudden urge to fan herself, like a damsel in distress in an old B-movie. Instead, she ignored her traitorous thoughts. Her balled fist pressed into her tight stomach.
“Tonight, not even chocolate will change my mind.”
She didn’t exactly lie. She had no intention of going to the bar, or of sleeping with him, no matter how her thoughts might try to sabotage her good intentions. She’d been fooled by surface finery before, and it had almost killed her. She wouldn’t let it happen again.

“I will remember that,” he promised. “But next time you will not get off so easy.” His eyes bored into hers for a moment, and then he turned on his heel and left.

Want to participate next week or check out other participating authors? Click here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

My Friend Has A Book Birthday

Today I'm welcoming my friend Denisea Kampe to my blog, to celebrate her book birthday. This is a thing writers do when we want to drum up some publicity for our existing books--we "celebrate" its release day anniversary, or birthday. So, read what she says, check out her book, and maybe even have a slice of cake!

Five Years and I Still Love It (And Now…It’s Only $0.99!)
This month mark’s the five year anniversary of signing that first contract and I can still remember the excitement and dancing around the room. I also remember the shock factor of all the publishing world actually entails and later the oh crap feeling when I realized my first baby, The Executive Officer’s Wife, wasn’t all it could have been. Over the course of the past five years, The Executive Officer’s Wife has undergone some serious editing and is now in its second edition, a MUCH better rendition and telling of Libby and Chase’s story. Not only has it undergone major surgery, it managed to spawn a few questions from my readers, like what the heck happened to…fill in a secondary character’s name here. I’m happy to announce, some of my readers are going to be VERY happy to find out, a series has been spawned off The Executive Officer’s Wife and the first book, Parallax, is in its final stages before going off to the editor. I’m also happy to say, I still love my first baby and I still love writing.
The good news is, if you haven’t read The Executive Officer’s Wife, now is a great time! In celebration of its five year anniversary, it’s on sale at Amazon for Kindle for $0.99 for the entire month of March.
Target: Libby Calhoun. She’s independent and strong-willed, the daughter of a near infamous Marine Corps sniper. Libby’s been raised by the resident housekeeper, has learned to take care of herself over the years and doesn’t take crap off anyone. She’s also sassy and pretty darn cute. After one failed marriage she’s not in the market for love, a husband or any semblance of children. One night of hot sex should do it but that pesky situation with her father is making that near impossible. 

Security Agent: Chase Wayland. He’s not looking for love either but his golden-eyes sure can lure a girl in. Chase is a former Marine turned owner of his own security firm. He also has a failed marriage under his belt and trust isn’t in his vocabulary. There’s only one way in Chase’s world and that’s his way, whether anyone else agrees or not. 

Can these two live under the same roof after the incident? Chase seems to think so, as long as they ignore each other, play by his strict 'business only' policy and he makes Libby hate him. Libby thinks so, too, but she wants to do things her way. And her way means Chase’s resolve to be a good guy will be stretched to its limits, especially when she takes to the town in her red boots…
Please enjoy an excerpt…
“Didn’t your daddy ever tell you red boots would get you in trouble?” a familiar deep voice whispered into her hair.
Whirling around, her eyes met Chase’s.  “Yeah, he tried to warn me several times. Obviously it didn’t stick.”
Grabbing the now full tray, she left the station.  She deposited the officer’s drinks on their table and returned to pick up a couple of drafts for another crew while Chase leaned on the bar watching her every move.
“How long did it take to figure out where I went?” she asked, taking a couple of napkins from the pile beside her tray.
“About as long as it took for me to follow you here,” Chase told her, pushing his Stetson back.
“You were behind me?  Here I thought I might have actually made a clean getaway.” She trotted off again and on the third trip back saw him talking Murray.
Great, they’ll probably band together on this.
“It’s probably going to be hard to get that jar filled on this side of the bar,” Chase said, his attention back on her. His eyes roamed her from head to toe leaving a path of flames licking along Libby’s skin. She hoped her outfit was driving him crazy.  “Need any help?”
“Not from you,” she snapped.  It was then she noticed Trent and Phil at the end of the bar watching with what seemed to her to be pure amusement. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  “Kandy, can you take this one out for me?”
Libby left the tray and turning on her heel, she headed for the karaoke stage.  Grabbing the microphone that started her troubles with Chase in the first place, she returned to the bar and climbed on top of it.
“Good evening gentlemen,” Libby said in the sultriest voice she could summon.  Seductively strolling along the bar’s length, she was greeted with whistles and barks. “You all know my bodyguard by now I’m sure.” She pointed at Chase with the mic. “A few weeks ago he answered a challenge to fill my jar.  Well tonight he’s challenged me.  He seems to think I can’t fill it working the floor.”
Booing and groaning erupted as Libby watched Chase scowl at her and adjust his Stetson even higher. He looked up at her and took a visible breath.
“Last time I believe you all wasted your hard earned pay so he’d be able to, what was it? Dance with me, I believe?  That won’t be happening this time.  Tonight I’m up for auction.  It’s payday, fellas, so dig deep.  Whoever wins won’t be paying for someone else to hold me.” Libby finished her little speech and smirked at Chase.
Murray shook his head and Chase took a seat on the stool next to where Libby stood.  Murmurs ran through the bar as guys counted, and in some cases pooled, their funds.  She knew not one of them that would actually take her up on the holding her bit except maybe the new Lieutenant who didn’t know any better.
“Now then, who’ll start?”  Silence ensued.  “Come on, don’t be shy. You all know what this jar’s for.  Okay.  How about fifty dollars?  Anyone?” Libby prompted, shaking her hips and licking her lips playfully.
“I’ve got fifty,” one of the enlisted men shouted from a corner.
“A hundred….one-fifty over here…” And it went on and on until finally the new Lieutenant stood on his table and exuberantly shouted, “One thousand dollars!”
Everyone grew silent.  Libby looked down at Chase and saw the agitation churning in his eyes.
Standing up, he stared Milner down as he crossed his arms over his puffed up chest and calmly proclaimed, “Five thousand dollars.”
Libby’s mouth fell open and she dropped her hands to her sides.  No one could top that.  He wasn’t supposed to win.
When all the mumbling died down and no one challenged Chase’s outlandish bid, he coolly turned, took her by the waist and lifted her down from the bar.  “I’ll go to the bank in the morning and get the money.”  He slipped two fingers in her front pocket retrieving her car keys, burning her with the golden inferno in his eyes.  Finding them after grazing the edge of her hip where her panties stopped and her skin started, he tossed them at Phil.  “Drive her car home.”
Leaning over, Chase placed his shoulder at her waist, grabbed her by the legs, and hoisted her up and over his back.  With her dangling over his muscular shoulders, begging to be put down after realizing her plan had backfired, he strode across the floor and out the door.  A sickening round of ooh-rah’s followed them.
You can get your Kindle copy of The Executive Officer’s Wife for only $0.99 through the end of March at:
I’d like to thank my hostess today and thank all of her readers for stopping by! You can find me at my blog, Ubiquitous Musings, at Script Chics, or on Facebook.
Happy reading!
Denisea Kampe

Writing one realmantic moment at a time…

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Release by Joanne C. Berroa

While I'm off visiting blogs this week, to celebrate the re-release of Skin Deep, I'm also hosting several guests. Today, Joanne and I are switching places. I'm visiting her here. And she's visiting me, talking about her newest release. Read on for more!

My new release: The Diamond Legacy is the sequel to my popular: The Diamond Cross, but can also be enjoyed as a stand alone romance. It’s near and dear to my heart, so let me tell you a little bit about it.

The year 1907 finds Heather and Brenton Emery celebrating seven years of blissful marriage. They are anything but the average couple. The son of Hungarian immigrants, Brenton owns and manages a thriving, top-notch Saratoga Springs hotel and vaudeville pavilion with his partner-wife Heather. She’s an entrepreneur in her own right. Blessed with a keen business sense, she’s made millions of dollars in her undertakings.

But they soon learn even the best marriages have problems, and their commitment to each other is sorely tested. A charismatic billionaire makes Heather an offer she simply can’t refuse. Given the opportunity to spread her wings thousands of miles away from home, she must choose between marriage and her career. Her choice stuns Brenton. Will the handsome and brilliant San Francisco architect Heather joins forces with succeed in rendering the coup de grace on Heather’s now tenuous marriage? 

To further complicate matters, Brenton’s secretary is astute and alluring. Heather’s plans fit her agenda nicely. Brenton is faced with the question: How far can a business friendship stretch before it is no longer just friendship?

The Diamond Legacy is a romance saga packed with bold, colorful characters and surprising twists that will tear at your heartstrings. Can Brenton’s and Heather’s love for each other rise above all odds and endure, or is love sometimes not enough?


“Care to comment on this.” He held the papers up for her to see.
“Can’t you read? I’m suing you for divorce.”
“You couldn’t tell me yourself. You had to get your lawyer to do it. You’re a cheat and a coward. I thought I knew you, but I was wrong. You’re an evil woman. You’re so devious, you probably even caused John’s heart attack. Did you slip a packet of strychnine into his coffee, little black widow spider!”
She slapped him hard. “I hate you! You’re pathetic. Your dick is smaller than my little finger.”
“Is it? How would you know, my pretty? You haven’t seen it in a damned year!”
“I’m sure you’ve been showing it off to lots of other women.”
“You should talk. You’ve been sleeping around with that architect and who knows whom else? Which of your lovers lives here with you, bitch?”
Her eyes shown puzzlement. “What are you talking about?” she snarled.
“The men’s clothing in your bedroom! Are you going to deny it?”
Her eyes widened and she relaxed a bit. “No, I’m not. I happen to love that man.”
“So you admit it! You’re having an affair!” Brenton clenched his teeth together. “So he’s the real reason you’re divorcing me. If not him, then it’s the architect. I swear, bitch, I can’t keep your lovers straight.”
“You’re a pigheaded ass, Brenton Emery. For your information, the man who’s staying with me is my father.”

You can purchase The Diamond Legacy (and my other romances) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance ebooks.