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The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the Second Date

seconddate

Turtle Sundaes and Purple Doves

I’ve been thinking about color all day. Well, two colors specifically. Purple and yellow. Well, not yellow exactly, but a golden amber, almost the color of a nice beer. But beer isn’t a romantic description, and dark blonde tends to make people think of light brown. Blonde is too pale, too yellow. And he’s not a ginger, he does not have orange hair. His hair is more like amber waves of grain. His hair is the color of beer, scotch, hell I could even say whiskey, but that just makes me sound like an alcoholic. I’ve been obsessing over Chris’s hair all day, and how to describe it. I want it to feel good on my tongue, the way thinking of him does.


I really hope this evening’s date is good. And that brings me to the other color I’ve been thinking about: purple. Purple is not a Christmas holiday season color. At least not in the stores that I was willing to brave this morning. So I stood in front of my mirror, dressed in all black, hoping that I had just enough purple streaks in my hair (thank you hair extensions) to be acceptable for a Price review show.

I waited for Chris to pick me up. I freaked out because I was going to be in a car with Chris for around four hours. The first two hours were either going to be really painfully long and full of awkward silence or what I really hoped for, not long enough to be with him. I had been running pretend practice conversations with myself all morning. Making sure I had topics to introduce, and that my light tinkling laughter didn’t sound like a rabid barking squirrel.

I didn’t expect him to knock on my door, but to text letting me know he had arrived. But he knocked.

“Hi, Chris.” I beamed when I opened the door.

It wasn’t him, it was the UPS guy delivering a day late, my “Christmas” present from Mom. A box of hand-me-downs. Mom still didn’t quite get my personal professional dress aesthetic. Nor did she fully grasp that I worked in an extremely business casual setting, or that it wasn’t 1985 anymore and I don’t wear pastel colors.

My phone buzzed. /knock knock I’m here/

Now that’s what I actually expected from Chris. No one I know in my age range knocks on doors or rings doorbells. It’s getting to be a lost art.

I threw open the door. “C’mon in.” I was simultaneously distracted by the box of fugly clothes from mom, and Chris on my doorstep. My insides twisted in an excited twitterpated manner.

“Uhm, you thinking about going all out eighties style for this?” Chris gestured at the blouse I had draped across my chest. Side buttons, shoulder pads, and ruffles that ran from the shoulder to the bellybutton in a V-formation. Oh, and it was yellow. I look terrible in yellow.

I snatched the offending garment from my person and tossed in back into the box. “No,” I said a little too loudly. “My mom just sent me a box of clothes from when she started working. I guess she thought that fashion recycles, maybe I could use them.” I shivered.

I noticed Chris still staring at my chest. Score! I typically downplay the boobs, since they can be distracting at times. Today was not one of those times. Full cleavage exposure. Colliding boobs and a low plunge bra were my weapons for this evening. Chris’s distraction proved that they worked.

I locked up, and he led me out to his car. Let me rephrase that, he escorted me. Allowing me to walk in front along the narrow walkway, placing his hand on the small of my back to guide me around the block, he even opened the car door for me.

So far, this was better than my idea of spending the day at the movies. This was a date with a gentleman. Damn, he had manners. I cannot even begin to express how incredibly sexy it was. I didn’t expect it, after all, he texted me from outside my front door when he could have knocked. I was not going to think about that, I was going to enjoy it.

“I like your purple tie,” I said as he slid into his car.

I hadn’t really paid much attention to the car last night, after all, he drove us into the hills to look at Christmas lights in the dark. In the daylight, I noticed it was spotless. I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been so spit-polished clean last night. I grinned like an idiot. He had cleaned his car for me.

“Thanks, I like the purple hair.” He replied.

“I actually don’t own too many purple clothes that would be acceptable for the theater,” I confessed. “So do you really like Prince? Why is this all the way up in Santa Barbara?” I asked.

“My sister really likes Prince, and therefore everyone really likes Prince. He is great, no denying that. I think she got these tickets more for her, but since I’m somewhat local, I was the excuse. My parents live in Santa Barbara, so it’s reasonable to expect that I would be there for Christmas. And honestly, it really isn’t that far away.” Chris explained. “I’m not sure what this place is, we are going to. I think it’s a theater. When I looked it up for directions they had a lot of stage-shows listed. We’ll see.”

I watched Chris’s profile the entire drive up. His hair, the color was still giving me fits for a name, golden amber like scotch, swept up and away from his brow. Mirrored aviator sunglasses covered half of his face, but did not hide his chiseled good looks at all. I never really stared at him, or focused on his features before. Typically it was notice Chris from the fifth floor, get flummoxed, blush and run away.

The drive to Santa Barbara took no time at all. I never once had to resort to one of my practiced conversation topics.

Chris drove by the theater first, to make sure he knew where we were going. It looked like a dive bar to me, with big banners advertising the Prince Review featuring Smokey Haute. If nothing else, we were in for an interesting time.

“You like Italian?” I said yes, and he took us to a little family owned restaurant he said he had been going to for years.

I thought dinner was going really well until I fed the boobs. My boobs are practically an entity all of their own. They seem to require feeding daily. It does not matter how hard I try to not spill, but I always do, and I always spill right on the boobs. Sometimes I wonder if they leap out to save my lap. Are they purposefully collecting food to later? Are they god-lings I am not adequately offering sacrifices to? Maybe I should just always offer my first bite of the day to my boobs, and then maybe I wouldn’t have grease stains in the middle of all of my shirts.

Well, tonight my clothes were saved the shame of marinara sauce stains by raw boob flesh. Unfortunately, the delicate skin of my décollitage was not spared the hot sauce. I may have screamed. Chris may have jumped up and wiped a napkin across my chest before he realized he was fondling me in public. He was beet red from embarrassment when I returned from the ladies’ room after cleaning up. My glorious cleavage was bright pink, and a bit tender.

“I am so sorry.” His eyes bounced between my eyes and my cleavage. “Are you okay?”

I laughed, “I’m fine. They got a little excited from being let out, and forgot not to jump after hot foods.”

I pressed a cool damp napkin to my chest. “Ow. Isn’t this just great? My best asset, and I have to burn them.”

Chris leaned in conspiratorially, still blushing. “You still look terrific, and, uhm. They do too.”

It was my turn to blush.

It was my own clumsiness, but the restaurant still comped my meal and gave us free desserts.

We thought we had plenty of time to get back for the show. By the time we parked and made our way to the entrance, a line had already formed down the street. Based on how everyone was dressed, this was a night club, and not a dive bar. I was glad I wore flats, then I could dance. Looking around at who was in line, it was hard to say, but I was fairly certain we were at a gay bar.

By the time we made it inside, I knew it was a gay bar.

We found a small table near the stage, and Chris got us drinks.

“I thought this was going to be a play of some kind. I feel overdressed.” He said as he slid a pink frothy drink in front of me. The glass had almost as many curves as I did, and the fruit spilling from the top made it look more like Carmen Miranda than a cocktail. He loosened his tie and undid the top button on his dress shirt. My mouth went dry at the sight of his neck. I took a quick sip of my drink.

“Maybe it’s a cover band?”

“Is this okay?” He asked, looking around. “You aren’t disappointed?”

“What that it’s not a play? Not at all. I think with this many gay guys and a Prince Review we are in for something interesting.”

Interesting really didn’t begin to describe Smokey Haute when they took the stage. Gender fluid to the extreme, and sexy as hell, Smokey took Prince’s feminine twist and masculinity and tied it all up in knots. Dressed like the purple rock god’s early days of the 1980s, Smokey defined cross-gender sex appeal.

I leaned into Chris’s shoulder, “I’m not sure if that’s a he or a she, but day-um.”

“I know what you mean. I’m drawn to the her, and confused by the him. They have me questioning my sexuality.” He confessed.

“Which is?” I asked.

“I’m firmly hetero.” I was pleased with that answer, mostly because he directed his gaze straight back to my boobs, as if to confirm that they did, in fact, hold some attraction for him after witnessing Smokey Haute.

It turned out that Smokey was our MC for an evening of drag performances of nothing but Prince tunes. It was fabulous. I don’t think that stage ever saw so many purple sequins and feathers before, or since.

The show ended with Smokey telling all of us to go dance. I jumped up and grabbed Chris, dragging him to the dance floor.

“I don’t dance.” He complained.

“So you can hold my drink.”

“I’m not going to be your floor table.”

“Then just stand there and pretend to dance. Please?” I begged.

His smile told me he surrendered. Chris was right. He didn’t dance. He sort of twitched back and forth, and not on rhythm at all. He moved like a jerky sloth. It was pitiful. But he moved because I asked. I on the other hand, danced like a spaz on speed. I more than made up for his lack of movement.

A long, glittery, sweaty arm draped over my shoulder. I turned to see the overly made up face of Electra Shock, one of the queens from the floor show. “Honey, tell me he screws better than he moves. I don’t think dance lessons could help that boy.”

I laughed and probably blushed. I had no answer for her yet, but I certainly hoped so.

“I saw him earlier, and I thought hmmm, mmm, mmm that man is fine. He is so well dressed, I bet he swings both ways. But now I have seen him dance. He is all yours. Straighter than a stick.” Electra Shock swiveled her head and snapped her perfectly manicured fingers before sashaying away.

Chris leaned in. “What did she say?” He had to yell so I could hear him.

“I’ll tell you later,” I yelled back.

Chris put up with my spastic gyrations for one more song before grabbing my wrist and pulling me from the floor. “Let’s get out of here.”

I nodded.

He drove for a few minutes before parking the car. He opened my door and helped me out. He had driven us to the beach walk. The evening was cool with the wind coming in from the ocean. The waves roared as they washed up on the beach. It was a welcome relief after heat and noise of the club.

“Oh, this is so quiet after the club. That was fun, thank you.” I spun around. My skirt twirled out a little further than expected. I giggled nervously as I patted it back into place.

“That was. So, are you going to tell me what that drag queen said that made you blush? Or are you going to blame it on the lighting?” He slid his hand into mine.

I couldn’t think for a moment, his hand felt so warm. No, I wasn’t going to tell him all that Electra Shock said, because if I did then I would blush even stronger. So I edited. “She said she could tell by your dancing skills that you were straight.”

“That’s not all she said.” He laughed and tried to coax me to tell him the rest.

“I’ll tell you that later. Like next week or later. When I know you a bit more.”

“But you’ll tell me?”

I agreed.

“You know what I want?” He suddenly asked.

I shook my head. To kiss me?

“Ice cream.”

“We had dessert,” I told him.

“That was hours ago. Let’s go find some ice cream before I have to drive us back.”

Apparently, Chris already had a place in mind as he pulled up to an all night diner. I slid into the booth across from him. We both ordered turtle sundaes with caramel sauce, hot fudge, pecans, and lots of whipped cream.

“So,” he cleared his throat. Then he nodded at my boobs. “You plan on feeding them again tonight?”

I laughed, “no they have had their allotted quota.” I tenderly poked at the still pink flesh. “Besides, it’s still a little tender.”

“Well if you do. I volunteer to lick any ice cream off.” He smirked.

I know I lit up like a Christmas tree. I was speechless, flustered, confused. Part of my brain said I should slap him for being impertinent. Part of my brain was ready to dump the entire sundae into my cleavage. All of me buzzed. Chris’s intentions were pretty clear, and while my body said ‘oh hell yes.’ I did need to make sure he knew I wasn’t that kind of girl, exactly.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I managed to say when I finally found my tongue. “But not on the first date.”

“So are you the kind of girl who has dating rules?”

I cocked my head to the side and looked at him like he just grew three green heads.

“You know, kissing but no tongues right away, no sex until the fifth date. I don’t get to see you in your underwear until I meet your parents. Sex right away, but no sleeping over for at least six weeks. That kind of thing.” He explained.

“That sounds like entirely too much work. I take it you have encountered that a lot?”

“You have no idea.” He answered.

We finished our ice cream, I did not feed the boobs, and Chris began the long drive home.

“Do you need that kind of structure while dating?” I asked. What were my rules of dating? I didn’t like to sleep with guys on the first few dates, but it doesn’t mean it never happened. When it did it also typically turned out to only last a few dates, thanks for the shag have a nice life.

“No, I don’t need those kinds of limitations for dating.” He laughed.

“How about we play it by ear, and see what happens? Does that work for you? I mean, do you want to keep seeing me?”

“You saved my Christmas, Nat, and I had a really good time tonight. Yes, I would like to keep seeing you. And I don’t mean running into you in the break room at work. Playing it by ear sounds like a good plan. No pressure for expectations by deadlines.”

Again the car ride took practically no time. I had Chris pull in behind my car in the car park. “You can’t stay here long, or they will tow you.”

“Do I have enough time to walk you to your door?”

I nodded, “and that’s about it.”

“Fair enough.” He followed me upstairs to my front door.

I proceeded to become incredibly shy. I wanted to kiss him, so I shoved the shy down and began playing with his neck tie. “I had a nice time. What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Hanging out with you and watching movies?” He answered.

“Move this car or I’m having it towed!” We heard someone yell.

He kissed me quick, then took off down the stairs. “I’ll call you in the morning. Night Nat!”

“Good night Chris,” I called out after him.

“Shut up!” Someone else yelled.

 

the First Date

this story is continued with the third date on Dec 27

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: Christmas Day

TwelveDatesbyLuluMSylvianThe First Date of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love came to me. I just didn’t realize it at the time.

I spent the morning having breakfast with my family via video chat. I staged a decorated tree and purchased red plaid flannel pajamas. As planned, I made the same breakfast in my little apartment in the big city as mom had over 2,000 miles away. It didn’t matter that I had to get up crazy early, and I had the AC running to keep me from sweating while wearing full flannel pajamas in 60-degree weather. I smiled sweetly and let everyone believe I was having a wonderful time.

Video conferencing was as good as being there. Actually, it was better. I didn’t have to listen to my sister and her future ex-husband arguing for hours at a time. (I secretly held a betting pool with myself on how much longer the two of them would last. Every year the arguments grew louder and longer.) I did not miss my mom fussing at my dad. I did not miss being asked if I had a boyfriend or if I was seeing anyone. I did not miss making up a boyfriend to have Christmas dinner with every few years, just to run away and get people off my back. There was so much I was not missing.

But, also, there was so much I was missing. I missed the Christmas lights in the snow, and the way hot cocoa and marshmallows warmed my toes and my soul. I missed watching the look on my nephew’s faces when they opened their gifts from Santa. Or the way my mom looked as she watched all of us sitting on the floor around the tree, surrounded by shredded wrapping paper. Video conferencing was not as good as being there.

“I love you too. Merry Christmas!” I waved.

“Bye sweetie, call me again tonight.” My mom blew kisses, my dad waved.

I tapped the screen and the video feed winked off. I was faced with a reflection of myself as my camera showed me what it saw. I lay the screen face down on the table. I let me face relax. My cheeks felt like they wanted to explode from my false enthusiasm.

I ripped off the flannel and slipped into jeans and a t-shirt. It was at least a festive shirt and had fake knitting stitches and a reindeer printed on the front.

I opened the front window and switched the AC off. Winter in Southern California was comfortable. All I needed was a light hoodie if it wasn’t raining (which it hadn’t for entirely too long). So drought aside, the weather was perfect. Which is exactly why I planned on spending the day sitting alone in the dark, watching movies.

I shoved another handful of popcorn into my mouth. My lips were beginning to feel shriveled from too much salt and soda. It made complete sense that I got up and refilled the popcorn bucket and my drink.

I crept from the theater, careful not to step on toes in the packed theater. Previews for my second movie of the day were still running, so I figured I had time to refill my goodies and get back to the theater on time. Blake the Beautiful walked past me. I almost dropped my bucket on the way to the concessions stand when he nodded and smiled in recognition at me.

Blake. Now that was a Christmas present I could handle, instead of the Amazon gift cards from mom. Blake was hot, and I not too secretly had a crush on him at work. Of course, there was no one to confide this secret to. No one actually knew that anytime Blake emailed me requesting documents I would pet the side of my monitor as if he had sent me a love note instead of some generic department request, and me being the generic department recipient.

Blake was everything I thought I wanted in a man, slender and yummy, bearded, tattooed and stylish. Not the only problem in our way, but pretty much the only major problem was that I had nothing Blake the Beautiful was interested in. I had boobs and I didn’t have a dick. Blake the Beautiful was gay, so very very gay. And then there was that little issue of never actually talking to each other. He still took my breath away with his beauty.

I returned to my movie and sank deeper into a depression. Alone in a theater, surrounded by strangers on Christmas day, and the closest thing I had to any interest in the opposite sex was a fabulously gay man.

I followed the throngs of moviegoers from my last matinee out into the parking lot. Like a caravan, cars made their way from the theater into the parking lot of the closest Chinese Buffet. Maybe we should have figured out a ride-share plan? Maybe if we all talked to each other we would find out each other’s stories? Maybe pigs will fly.

I waited my turn anxiously. Alone, away from my family, in a strange place (trust me LA is strange when you are from middle America), my Christmas was sucking hard.

“How many?” The hostess asked me.

“One.” Her eyes rolled so far back in her head, I almost expected them to start spinning like a slot machine. She moved on to the next group. They had three. They were seated.

I guess the restaurant had too many singles, and not enough tables, so they were seating groups first. I turned to leave, having had enough humiliation just by being alone today.

I literally ran into the second best-looking man at work. Chris. Running into Chris was like running into a side of beef. He was tall and muscular. And really hot.

“Watch it. Oh hi, Natasha.” He said as he recognized me. Not my name, but close.

I stuttered. “Ha, ha, hey Chris. It’s Natalie actually.” He smiled. I withered inside, he’s so cute. While Blake is beautiful, Chris is handsome with a square jaw, cute with a little nose, good looking with sparkling blue eyes, gorgeous perfect body, and straight. “Sorry.” I frequently dorked out around him. I dorked out on him every freaking time I had to run anything upstairs to his office. My brain stopped all proper functionality when I was anywhere near Chris.

“You leaving?” He asked.

“Yeah, I don’t have it in me to wait. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea. Everyone and their missing half-cousin are here.” In self-defense, I relied on heavy sarcasm.

He scoffed. “You wanna get out of here? I know a little Thai place that’s open.”

“Aren’t you here with people?” I asked, looking around expecting to see a girlfriend, or a parent or two.

“Flying solo. How bout you?”

“My folks are back in Indiana, I’m on my own too.”

“Great,” he smiled.

Chris’s smile was the best thing to have happened to me in days. I grasped on to that and knew I would cherish this moment forever. The moment Chris smiled at me. At me, and not just in my direction. I had thought it was enough he actually almost knew my name, but to also get a smile, that was great.

Oh, I was in serious high-derp mode.

“Let’s ditch the traditional Chinese Christmas dinner, and try for something a bit different.”

“Sounds good to me.” Squee!

I knew better than to think this was an actual date, but it was still nice to go be a warm body so that Chris wasn’t alone today also.

Maybe it was a date, an impromptu, unexpected date.

“So Nat, why are you here and your folks in Indiana?” Chris asked as he blew on the hot soup, before wrapping his perfect lips around the spoon. This was a friendly dinner, yet every hormone in my body shot off like fireworks.

I sat across from him in a small cozy booth, in a slightly seedy little Thai restaurant, that frankly, had some of the best food I had ever eaten.

I smiled between bites of grilled satay sticks. “My first year out here. Figured I would attempt to save some money. You know, be the responsible adult I have fooled people into believing I am, and not fly home this year.”

“And you moved here for the job?” His lips wrapped around another bite of food. I dearly wished to be a bite of Thai food at the moment.

“Yeah. I stumbled across a job fair at my alma matter, and these guys hired me on the spot. The relocation package was decent, and I’m here living the dream in Southern California.”

“So you’re using Zephyr Tech as your gateway to what? Getting into the movies and making it big?”

“Yeah, no. No dreams of Hollywood. I’m using Zephyr as my gateway to a 401K, and job experience. And the chance to live in California.” I explained.

“I never really quite understood that. Why up and move thousands of miles from everyone and everything you know?”

“Seriously Chris? Where did you grow up?”

“Santa Barbara.”

“Where did you go to college.”

Again he replied “Santa Barbara.”

“And you don’t see why people want to live here?” He shook his head.

“It’s what I grew up with, so I guess I take it for granted.”

“Ok, lets put it this way. Would you up and move to, say Oklahoma City for a good job opportunity, if an equal opportunity was available here?”

Chris scoffed, “no, why would I leave here?”

“Exactly. You’re already here, so you can’t see the point of wanting to be anywhere else. Well, when you live with anywhere else, in the landlocked midwest, you dream. I dreamed of living somewhere near the ocean.”

“Somewhere with traffic congestion and water rationing, and raging wildfires?” The sarcasm was strong with this one.

“Somewhere with ocean, a job that paid enough to cover rent and pay off my student loans, in a location where I didn’t have to spend the rest of my paycheck on seasonal clothes. Honestly, I was actually looking at Chicago before being able to come out here. It was the logical big-city. But moving here was a happy opportunity.” I explained.

“What do you at Zephyr exactly?”

“I’m in Enterprise Acquisitions.” Chris nodded in understanding. This typically meant that the listener had no clue, but didn’t want to appear to not understand corporate buzz terms. It meant the team I worked with was responsible for helping the company get the things it needed to run as a company.

“You?” I asked, knowing he would throw some more buzz words back at me.

“Asset Projection.” I nodded as if I knew what he meant. He meant the group he works with figured out what the company was going to need to purchase in order to run as a company. Basically, his group told my group what to buy.

“Do you think anyone in upper management actually knows what any of us actually do? I mean why am I in Enterprise Acquisitions, and not Purchasing?” I asked.

“With fancier names we can charge the clients more, and you and I can expect bigger paychecks.” Chris winked.

I couldn’t help myself, I giggled.

“There is a neighborhood up in the hills, they do up everything crazy over the top with Christmas lights. You want to go for a ride and look at the lights?” Chris asked. This was turning into an almost real date.

“That sounds like fun.”

On the ride into the hills, I found out that Chris’s folks and brother did the travel thing, and this year they were spending Christmas in Australia. His sister was with her family in Oregon. He wasn’t with them because of year-end issues with work.

When he dropped me off at my car, I more than hoped he would say something that would indicate that this was a date-date. As a modern woman, I wasn’t going to sit on my laurels and wait.

“Chris that was unexpected and pleasant. What are…”

He started talking at the same time. “Would you like to go out again tomorrow?”

“I’d love to go out again tomorrow. I was just going to ask if you had any plans.”

He smiled at me. My toes curled. Damn if my body reacted that way to a grin, I really wanted to know how I’d react to a kiss.

“My sister got me tickets to a production called ‘When Doves Cry,’ it’s some type of Prince review. You wouldn’t be interested would you?”

“I love Prince. That sounds much more interesting than what I had in mind.”

“And what was that?” Chris’s eyebrow shot up. Ooh, he could lift one eyebrow. I’ve tried for years, and never managed to master that expression.

“Hang out and watch movies,” I said shrugging.

“Isn’t that what you did today?”

“Yeah, but there are more movies that just came out that I haven’t seen, and we could share popcorn.”

Chris chuckled. “I’ll pick you around four? We can eat first.”

“Four? Isn’t that early?”

Chris shook his head. “Not at all. This thing is up in Santa Barbara. That should give us time to have dinner before it starts.”

I bit my lip. Chris was asking me to be stuck in a car with him for at least 4 hours of driving time, and to see a live show. Now that sounded like a date.

“It sounds great. I’ll text you my address in the morning.”

“I look forward to it Nat.” He nodded, then gave me a little wave and pulled off.

I had a date and less than twenty-four hours to get ready, lose twenty pounds, look like I had four days of sleep, grow my hair to my butt, and bleach my teeth. I looked down at what I was wearing, jeans, a ratty hoodie, and a food stain right in the middle of my boobs. I groaned. Food on the boobs and he still asked me out. This Christmas day had not sucked.

I needed to go home and call my mom.

 

The story continues tomorrow, Dec 26, the second day of Christmas.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

Author Interview Savannah Kade

FBT 1line TOM

Today, Savannah’s newest series Touch of Magick  is released. The entire series, so you don’t have to chomp on your fingernails waiting for the next book!

I was lucky enough to get her to answer some questions for us about her books, writing, and sock preference.

Your first contemporary romance series, the Wilder Books, follows the lives of each member of the band Wilder. In Touch of Magick what is the common thread that ties the three stories together?

The Touch of Magick series follows a family of witches — Tristan, Delilah, and . . . well, the youngest sister (Juliet) is deceased (more on that in book 1-WishCraft.) Delilah’s story is  first and the second book goes to Yasmin, one of the employees in the family’s magicks store. Tristan finally finds his place in book three.

Can you provide a Twitter-length description for each book?

WISHCRAFT – Delilah is heartbroken over her sister’s betrayal and her own broken marriage. She’s picking up men in bars and casting forget spells on them. But Brandon’s spell just won’t take and he keeps coming back.

1liner long WC

DREAMWALKER – Yasmin (tired of waiting on Tristan to notice her) casts a love spell (which she knows she shouldn’t do.) Messing with destiny leaves her with police protection in the form of one Luke Salzone, non-believer.

1liner long DW

LOVESPELLED – Megan is fleeing an abusive family situation. Her ‘gift’ is that she can hear what everyone around her thinks and feels. The bolt that Tristan feels when he touches her may not be enough to make up for all the ways he doesn’t understand her.

1liner long LS

Will we see more paranormal stories from you, or do you plan on focusing more on contemporary romance?

All my stories are contemporary–I’d even call these contemporary. Though they have a paranormal element, the stories are still based in real-life love. I do have plans for other series in the future with paranormal elements, though.

What’s the next series we can look forward to, and when should we look for it?

The Hollywood Nights series will release the first two books on May 4th, 2017. There’s already a link to those books on my website, so you can see blurbs and more. The remaining two books in that series will be out later in the year.

You write other genres under different names. Would you mind sharing?

I write dark, twisted suspense under the name A.J. Scudiere.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t even know. I know I wrote my first ‘book’ at age eight. It was 80 pages and I thought it was an adult romantic suspense novel. It wasn’t. I’d always told myself I’d be a published author by the time I was thirty. Then one day I realized thirty had passed by and I hadn’t even given it a shot. That very day, I made a plan to finish a novel and get it submitted.

What inspired you to start writing romance?

The same thing that inspires me to write anything. I have stories–almost like full-emotion movies–playing in my head. Some have been in there for more than a decade. Writing them releases them so I can move on to the next story. Some of those stories are suspense and some are love stories. So I had to write romance.

The Wilder Books released in June of this year, and now Touch of Magick is released 6 months later. Approximately how many books do you write in a year? And how far in advance do you write?

There is no average year! My first book took a year and a half to write. The second only two months. I thought I had this writing thing nailed and got pulled up short when the third book took almost three years to finish! This year, however, I will complete four full-length novels, beginning to end, edited and everything. So that’s a really good pace.

On your website you say you believe in characters with human flaws, how do you find your characters? Or do they find you?

It’s both. They find me and I also work to make sure the characters are fleshed out. I hate when characters do dumb things or out-of-character things because that’s where the author (or tv show writer) decided the plot should go. Some things just don’t fit. And real people are full of flaws and troubles and even things they don’t see. So there’s plenty to use to write a good, real story with. And I personally need more than just a ‘that’s nice, they’re together now’ ending. I love when I fall in love along with the characters and I try to give my readers that same experience.

As an author what’s been your biggest book-related thrill?

Honestly, there are a lot of them. I loved the feeling of awe when I held my first copy of my first book in my hands. Though I admit it’s not the same anymore, there is still a good sense of the world stopping when you get your new book. My day is made when people write to me and tell me how much they loved one of my books. Or when I see a new review. The first time someone stopped me and asked if I was ‘her’? That’s unreal!

I’m a big fan of the Wilder books. I totally want one of their albums. What band or combination of bands would you recommend listening to get the Wilder sound?

Oh! That’s so great! So, I taught myself to sing “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen like a singer–all the deep lungfuls of air, all the diaphragm movement. I wanted to know what TJ felt. I had songs in my head the whole time. I have pieces of “Jump” — the song TJ writes for Norah — in my heart. And later, after I wrote that book, I finally heard Keith Urban’s “Once In A Lifetime” which has that same vibe. I hear a male version of the Dixie Chicks when I’m thinking of Wilder and their sound. And some Rascal Flatts with all their harmonies. I hear sweet but southern sounds like Phillip Phillips’ “Home” and old INXS — so it’s definitely a mix!

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What’s your hidden party trick?

That for everything above–about me singing like a singer and writing songs–I have absolutely zero singing and musical talent! ha.

Coke or Pepsi?

Mexi coke. Hands down. Nothing else.

One last important question regarding socks. Why is it shoes and socks and not socks and shoes? On a more personal note is it sock-shoe, sock-shoe, or sock-sock, shoe-shoe?

Linguistically, it’s “shoes and socks” for the same reason it’s a “big, red wagon” and not a “red, big wagon.” For me, it’s sock-sock, shoe-shoe because I have no natural body heat, so those socks have to get on fast. The second foot cannot even hang out bare while the first gets a shoe!

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You can find Savannah’s book on Amazon here.

You can find her website here.

You can find her on Facebook here,

and Twitter here.

Bethany Adams- Author Interview

Blond girl dressed in dress walk in a magic forest

I’m excited to have Bethany Adams as a guest on my blog. Her latest release Sundrered, book two in the Return of the Elves series just came out a few weeks ago. Today her book Soulbound is released as an audiobook.
Its available from:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible  and Downpour

 

This is the intro blurb I would read from an index card if I were sitting at a desk on a televised talk show:
Ever since finding a copy of The Hero and the Crown in her elementary school library, Bethany has loved fantasy. After subjecting her friends to stories scrawled in notebooks during study breaks all through high school, she decided to pursue an English degree at Middle Tennessee State University. When not writing or wrangling her two small children, Bethany enjoys reading, photography, and video games.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I’m not sure there was ever really a decision. I started writing stories when I was a kid and never really stopped for wrong. I did consider other things when I was in college, but writing was always there. It took me until my thirties to get serious about a career in writing, though.

What’s your hidden party trick most people don’t know about?

Inappropriate jokes? I’m fairly quiet, and I keep my off-color sense of humor to myself until I really know people. So when I break out with a raunchy joke, it surprises the heck out of people.

What’s worse? Stepping in something wet after putting on clean dry socks or a noisy cricket outside your window when you need to sleep?

Noisy cricket. I can change socks, but don’t mess with my sleep!

Your books are fantasy-romance, which genre really pulled you into wanting to write the fantasy or the romance?

I’ve always had a deep love of both. I grew up reading Robin McKinley and Mercedes Lackey. Then as a teen, I started picking up romance novels, too. I’ve tried to just write one or the other, but I can’t seem to help it—they blend. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten past a page or two without mixing the two.

Soulbound and Sundered are the first two in the Return of the Elves series. How many books do you have planned?

Heh. That’s a good question. I’m writing a short story (which might sneak itself into a novella) that happens just after Sundered. After that, Book 3 will tie up the story arc with the main villain. But I also have stories in mind for Lynia and Lial, Selia, Naomh and/or Caolte, and a new character popping up in Book 3. I guess we’ll have to see!

When can we expect to see the next one?

I’m hoping to release the maybe-novella in February. It’ll also have a couple of bonus short stories unrelated to The Return of the Elves. Book 3 is a little more tentative. I’d love to have it out in May, but it depends on how smoothly the writing process goes.

Can you give us a twitter-length over view of each book? 

Soulbound: Arlyn wanted to meet her elven father, not spark the plot to kill him.

Sundered: Poisoned energy is flooding into the realms of the fae, causing sickness, and Lyr must rush to find the source of the threat.

What has been the most euphoric experience in publishing your novels? 

It is absolutely when someone tells me they love my book. Hands down. That anyone would take the time out of their day just to message or email me about my book…it’s such an honor.

As a self-published author what has been the most difficult obstacle to overcome?

The learning curve. There’s a great deal that goes into publishing a book, although it sounds like it should be simple. Most people know that you need an editor and a cover. But then there’s formatting (for ebook and print, which aren’t the same), deciding how you want to publish, entering your information into a million publishing platforms, buying ISBNs, advertising… It all falls to the author. I’m still learning to juggle it all in a lot of ways.

How do your stories come to you?

It’s character first. Always. Scenes just pop into my head, and it’s usually the character in the middle of doing something intense. Of course, sometimes the meanies pop in and then leave before I can get a full story. That doesn’t usually happen, though.

Do your characters become more real the further you get into writing the stories?

I suppose so. For me, it’s like getting to know a real person. As more of their story comes clear, I learn more about them. I didn’t know why Lial, the healer in both books, is so cranky until the third draft of Soulbound. It’s a strange sensation having something from your own brain surprise you.

You’ve provided us with a sampling from Sundered, do you need to set up this scene?

Lyr’s life is pretty messed up at this point. He’s dealing with a great deal after his failures at the end of the first book, and now more problems are popping up. And now he has another surprise in store. :)

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Excerpt from Sundered:

Lyr strode down his favorite path through the woods, his footsteps guided more by habit than intent.

It was beyond foolish to take his daily walk with another assassin on the loose. At the least, he shouldn’t have ducked the bodyguards who trailed him every time he left the estate—the same three who’d been unable to detect or deflect the danger just hours before. But for the moment, Lyr didn’t care, a thought that crept in more every day. Maybe if he walked fast enough, he could outmaneuver his frustration and discontent.

His hands curled into fists at the helpless feeling that washed through him, the same sick emotion that had plagued him for nearly thirty years. He kept telling himself that it would pass. After five hundred and forty-nine years of life, he knew that all things shifted and changed, even among the slow-paced elves. Yet here he was, his father’s murder still unsolved, the person behind their recent troubles unknown, and his soulbonded forever lost to the world. Despite his training and his power, he could fix nothing.

And now he had to worry about the Neorans.

Lyr was halfway to the portal when the alarm set into the estate shielding resounded through his mind. Muscles tensing, he paused to examine the spell. Five people had come through the gate unauthorized, and not guided by someone connected to Braelyn. The guides who escorted travelers possessed medallions to let their charges through, so it had to be a true incursion.

He only wore his boot knife, but time was more of the essence than his safety. Clechtan, but he was a warrior in his prime. These were his lands, and he knew them better than any intruder could. He didn’t need bodyguards with him just to check the gate. It would only take a few moments to creep close, and the land guards shouldn’t be too far away.

Lyr brought his own personal shields to their highest state and darted off the trail. The forest here had minimal undergrowth, much of the excess cleared to prevent fire, so remaining undetected would take some caution. Still, he knew the best routes. He wove through the trees as he flung his senses wide, but he detected only the intruders and the guards perched in the trees surrounding the portal area. The Tayianeln were taking no chances after their previous failures and had rushed extra guards to the portal. Though they awaited his command, they would not be caught unprepared again.

Lyr slipped behind a log bench designed to look like a natural part of the forest. It was the largest and most distant of the three scattered around the clearing near the portal, perfect for crouching behind. Unsure if the interlopers would have the kind of magic capable of detecting him, he sent out several false energy signatures around the edges of the clearing. Finally satisfied, he looked up to examine the newcomers.

Four females and a male. An older elf in long robes stood closest to his hiding place, and the two females nearest her seemed to be servants of some kind. His gaze moved to the flame-haired male, and Lyr’s breath caught. Power swirled around the newcomer, but it was unlike anything Lyr had seen before. Not quite like Eradisel, but…

Ralan’s voice broke into his mind without warning or apology. “Do not attack, and stay wary of the male. He is not what he seems.”

Lyr’s eyes narrowed on the group. The elder’s white robes were richly embroidered. More elaborate than the others in her group. And although the male’s power was undeniable, none of them were armed beyond ceremonial knives. More diplomats? There was one more who could have been some type of guide. She stood apart from the others, and tension hitched her delicate shoulders so high he could see it from across the clearing.

The older one barked a single word Lyr didn’t recognize, and the slender woman pivoted, her long robes swirling around her ankles. The cloth was of good quality, but the robes were simpler than the elder’s and cinched by a leather belt. She took a step forward, and a pendant on a thin chain glinted between her breasts. Was the amulet mere decoration, or was it some kind of weapon?

Perhaps he’d been reckless to leave the estate without his sword after all. Lyr eased forward, his focus on the metallic glimmer. She shifted again, falling into shadow, and the source of the flash came clear. A large crystal encased in silver mesh. If this female was an assassin, he’d eat moss off the back of the bench.

Then she spoke, and his attention darted back to her face. Though she hadn’t noticed him, he fell into her light blue eyes. A shudder went through his whole body.

They had never met, but he knew her.

Lyr’s hands gripped the bark of the log bench until lichen crumbled beneath his fingers. It was not possible. Aimee had died four Earth years before, and his daughter had witnessed it. Arlyn wouldn’t have mistaken her own mother’s death. Besides, the woman before him had pale blond hair, so unlike the vibrant red Arlyn had inherited from her mother. He could see that they weren’t the same with his own eyes, yet he could feel the connection between their souls.

It matched the one he’d shared but never completed with Aimee. As much as this stranger’s energy differed, her spirit was the same.

This woman was his aenac—his soulbonded.

Impossible.

He had never heard of an elf finding another soulbonded after losing the first. Since the souls of bonded pairs connected, the death of one would take a bit of the person left behind, leaving a piece that could never reconnect. Still, his soul sang for the female across the clearing. No matter how much he tried to deny it.

Suddenly, he understood how Kai had panicked and given Arlyn the binding necklace on their first meeting. Lyr wanted to run forward and do the same before he lost yet another soulbonded, and it took all his willpower to resist. Even if the entire group was set to kill him, they were not walking back through the portal. Not until he’d spoken to her.

With a mental command to the Tayianeln hiding above him in the trees, Lyr prepared to reveal his presence. Feeling Kai’s approach, he established a quick connection between them. “Do not attack. Stand down and let me handle this. One of these women feels like Aimee.”

****************

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Go check Bethany out online, follow her on all the social media links, tell your friends!

Main website: http://bethanyadamsbooks.com/

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/bethanyadams

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/bethanyadams

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bethjadams

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerbethany

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/willowreve/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/bethany-adams

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amberwillow

 

WIP-It Wednesday: A Christmas Story

This is unedited RAW, straight from whatever project I happen to be typing away on. Since its NANO month, I definitely have a goal in mind, and these will see the light of day this time next year.

christmas-xmas-christmas-tree-decoration

Jimmy wiped his hands together, as if he could clear away the grease, and not just smear it around. A familiar happy tune wafted on the breeze. He looked up. Was that Rose? A cloud of thick golden tresses swirled around her in the freezing wind. She high-stepped and skipped her way over the ice and rocks on the side of the broken up road.

“Hey,” he called out.

Rose froze. She hadn’t noticed the hearse on the side of the road until the man called out to her; the tall good-looking one, the one who cheated off her tests in World History. James. James, what was his last name? If anything he had filled out even more. The white shirt he wore showed off his broad shoulders, the rolled up sleeves emphasized the unseasonal tan of his strong forearms. Rose had only let him cheat hoping he would at least talk to her, but nope. Boys didn’t talk to her in high school, and men didn’t talk to her now, seven years later.

“Oh hi. Did you get a flat? Need some help?” Not that Rose could do anything, but she had been well trained to at least offer assistance.

“No, I’m good, just finished. You aren’t walking home, are you? Where’s your ride?” Jimmy asked

Rose threw back her head and cackled. “You’re funny. Why would I have a ride? I’m pretty sure that damned bastard made sure that I would be stranded out here. Oh wait, that would mean he actually thought about me. No. No, I don’t have a ride, because my father made sure he was taken care of, without a thought for me.” Her voice was thick with knives and resentment.

“That would explain why I heard ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’?” Jimmy smirked.

“Yeah, busted.” Rose grinned sheepishly.

“Can I give you a lift home Rose?”

Rose’s heart sped up, her breathing caught in her throat. James-the-cheat knew her name. “Yeah, James right?”

Jimmy nodded, “Jimmy.”

Teaser Tuesday : Driven

pinkgreenDNA

Van Haas’s face blanched then blushed a ruddy hue as shock, then embarrassment crossed his features. “Ms. Palatine, Julia.” van Haas’s voice dropped when he said her name. “I am in a position of great power and wealth. I have extensive lands and many people follow me within my organization. You are too lovely and should not be expected to participate in the masculine world of business, you…”

“I am going to stop you right there, before you say anymore that you will regret. I do not know the feminist climate of South Africa, but I can tell you right now as a woman in business, you aren’t ever going to get anywhere by telling a woman she should or should not do something.”

“Forget I said anything about business.” van Haas waved his hand dismissively. “I am leaving here soon. We have not had any time to be alone together. I would just like to spend some time with you. You invited me here. And it’s been all business and genetics the entire time.”

“Because I invited you to a genetics conference.”

“Yes, well you invited me, and I came. You have spent too much of my time with other people. I think we should return to my suit and…”

Julia held up her hands in front of her, stopping van Haas from continuing. “No. Clearly, there has been a miscommunication.” This explained his oily demeanor when the others weren’t around. “I am not, no.” She let out a breath. “I don’t want to assume anything, however, I have a very strong feeling that you are about to make a claim with emotional expectations. I am not, I have not done anything that should warrant these expectations from you.”

“You invited me.”

“I also invited the alpha of the Meyer family in Canada.”

 

Driven: book two Rhea Silvia Legacy

Protective Update

Protective-paranormal Romance by Lulu M Sylvian lmsylvian.com

Well, unfortunately, I am not announcing the publication date.
Cause, I don’t know when that will be.

Due to scheduling issues and issues with what it takes to actually self-publish a novel the date has been pushed off.

I’m now shooting for a winter release date.
Also, this book will be released as an eBook first, not sure how much longer after the eBook release it will be available as a trade sized paperback.

The book is in editing, and it is getting done. It’s just taking a little longer than expected.