Category Archives: Squirm Factor

BOB Excerpt from And You, Virginia, Are No Lady

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That night as Virginia stepped out of the bathroom following her shower Gabe asked, “Did you take your Battery Operated Bob on our honeymoon?”

She blanched and her face reddened. “I–”

feb-hop-white-lettering“There’s no reason to be embarrassed, sweetheart. I’ve read most sexually active women take a Bob to bed at least once a week.”

“Well, I–”

“Stuffed it in your suitcase just in case?” he asked hopefully.

“No, I–”

Gabe couldn’t keep his disappointment from showing.

“–Tucked it in my purse,” she said, looking pleased with herself.

“Then dig it out. I want to watch you make love to yourself.”

Looking doubtful, she blanched again, then nodded with more enthusiasm than he’d expected to see.

She fumbled around in her oversized purse and after a moment lifted out a small velvet pouch.

“I hope the batteries are new,” she said, handing him the pouch.

I do, too.

Gabe removed the helpful gadget and turned it on.

“There are two speeds,” Virginia said, blushing again.

“Which one do you prefer?”

“Slow at first and then, when I start getting into it I–”

“Switch to high gear? Show me.” He turned Bob off.

“Here?”

“Yes, where ever you are the most likely to…”

“Cum?”

“Right.” The tips of his ears suddenly burned.

Virginia ‘s nervous giggle put them both at ease, but she glanced around.

“Is there something else you need?”

“Something to set the mood. It’s still daylight and I’m not used to–”

“Diddling yourself when the sun’s still shining?”

She nodded, looking nervous again.

He drew the curtains. “Maybe some music will help. And do you have any incense?”

“No, but there’s a scented candle in the linen closet. Why don’t you pick out a CD and start the music playing while I look for the candle Paris gave me?”

He started a Nat King Cole CD playing while she lit a sandalwood-and-oak scented candle

“Now what?” Virginia asked timidly.

“What would you do if you were alone?”

“Dim the lights and lie on my back on the bed. Is that okay?”

“Yes, if I can lie beside you and watch?”

She looked dubious, but let the towel she was wearing pool on the floor, stacked two pillows for her head, then looked comfortable and damn sexy as she lay on her back on the bed.

Gabe rolled onto his side beside her, and handed the small vibrator to her.

A quiet hum quickly filled the room.

She closed her eyes, then slowly opened them. “Gabe…”

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Celebrating a New Release by Adriana Kraft

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BLURB   During an oppressive Iowa summer of drought and farm foreclosures, widowed Maggie Anderson makes a bold decision: She’ll merge her love of horses and her family’s three hundred and twenty acres into a horse farm and try her hand at nearby Prairie Meadows Race Track, where racing purses have just been augmented by the recently added casino gambling.

Down on his luck after being falsely accused in a racing scandal and banned from training, former Arlington Race Track trainer Ed Harrington has skulked home to Des Moines to drown his sorrows and wait for the dust to clear. He’s unprepared for the piercing robin’s-egg-blue eyes of pint-sized Maggie Anderson, who finds him at a flophouse and offers him a job. Can he pull himself together and meet the challenge?

As the two forge a tumultuous working partnership, they soon discover someone is out to get Maggie’s farm and will stop at almost nothing to force her off the land. Can they find and stop the culprit before someone is killed? Can they survive the far greater danger unleashed by the raw passion simmering just beneath the surface of their relationship?

EXCERPT

“Mr. Harrington, have you decided to take the job?”

“Well, it’s not like I have a lot of other offers.” He grinned faintly, like a child returning from a runaway attempt.

That smile tore at Maggie’s heart. Had he really said she was pretty?

“You may be getting in way over your head,” he cautioned. “Hell, maybe me, too. But I’m willing to try. Of course, I don’t have much to lose. If you’re going to be in this business, it’s important to know something about all elements of the game. In the long run, you may not want to take on the track responsibilities of a trainer. There are a lot ways to play the game.

“We do need to clear up one matter.” Harrington sighed and dropped his gaze. “You know I can’t take your horses to the track. Can’t help you out there.”

Maggie nodded. “I know about the ban, Ed. That doesn’t have anything to do with me. You’ve been vouched for. That’s enough. There are likely a lot of bridges yet to cross. Let’s take them one at a time.”

“I’m all for that, Maggie.” Harrington lifted his cup in salute.

That was the first time he’d called her Maggie. It sounded too familiar, yet they had to be on a first name basis if they were going to work together as a team. She took a short breath, excited about actually beginning to put in place her plan to save the farm. Her nerves tingled at the prospect.

Or, perhaps they were responding to the man who pronounced Maggie in a gravelly voice that oozed intimacy.

Want to know more about Adriana Kraft?

Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a husband/wife team writing sizzling romantic suspense and erotic romance. The award-winning pair has published over thirty erotic romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. Romantic pairings include straight m/f, lesbian, bisexual, ménage and polyamory, in both contemporary and paranormal settings.

Dana-Point-Gazebo-Adriana-208x300

It’s Research, You Know

We’re celebrating the release of Heat Wave, Book Two in our romantic suspense series set in the horseracing industry, Riders Up.

We thought we’d share a little about researching for this series. Naturally, events in authors’ lives often serve as inspiration for the stories they write. With this series, we really can’t tell the difference between “research” and just living our lives.

Both of us have always loved horses and always hoped someday we’d have time, space and resources to own at least one, never dreaming it might actually happen. Some years back, my husband came into a small inheritance, and all the right ingredients coalesced. We lived out west at the time and had a friend who trained and raced horses at nearby Wyoming Downs. It wasn’t long before we’d worked out an arrangement with him, and he and my husband were able to attend the Barretts sale in California, where they came home with two promising thoroughbred fillies.

One of them did quite well for a brief time, even winning an allowance race at Los Alamitos. The other one sustained an early injury, but went on to become an excellent broodmare. We traded our interest in her to our friend for a promising quarter horse, who ran for a while at Wyoming Downs, but never took to racing. We then brought him off the track, stabled him closer to home, and my husband did his transitional ground training. We ultimately sold him to a rancher who trained him as a cutting horse.

So when we write the details of managing race horses, watching pre-dawn workouts, hanging out on shedrow, checking for hot or swollen joints, cooling a horse on a hot-walker, picking hooves, mucking stalls – all of the above, we’re writing things we know and love. We hope you do, too!

ADRIANA KRAFT ON THE WEB

Website: http://adrianakraft.com

Blog: http://adrianakraft.com/blog

Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Adriana-Kraft/182846025133440

Twitter http://twitter.com/AdrianaKraft

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/adrianakraft5/boards/

BUY LINKS:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JZ6GW6G

Enjoy! 

Whew!

WHEW!

After writing, editing and self-publishing three erotic novels in the last six months of 2013 and draining my muse, I decided to take a short sabbatical the first of January, walk away from my computer and whip my neglected yard back into shape. My gardener hadn’t returned to pull weeds since October, and the undergrowth was overgrown in the front and the back.

I could have hired someone else, but after years of me training, Leo knew which plants I treasured, recognized which ones were weeds and even hugged me on my down days, the kind of guy you enjoy having around. I didn’t have time to train someone new, but the weeds were knee high in back, almost as bad in front where a colorful display of drought-resistant plants native to southern California stops traffic each spring.

It would take me two weeks tops to complete the task, I thought, and dropped to my knees on the damp soil I’d watered the day before to weed. I love to garden. When I was growing up my mother grew, cut and arranged her flowers for the church altar, and K-Mart sold the tomato plants and petunias my father grew in his green house, so I came by my love of sinking my hands in rich soil naturally, and my abhorrence of weeds.

Two weeks tops.

I was barely into the second week of weeding when one of our daughters was hospitalized. Showering, dressing and visiting with her for two weeks virtually nipped my gardening in the bud. Then she was released to recuperate with us for three more weeks while outside, the weeds continued to grow.
I’d just finished weeding the front slope and was about to tackle the back yard when the off/on switch on my computer tower tanked and it had to be replaced.
While upstairs loading software onto my new tower our computer tech looked down on the flower beds in back and said, “I like your back yard. It’s rustic looking.”

I was horrified. Neglected? Yes, but rustic? Our yard had always been a showplace where a garden railroad wound through the miniature plants and villages, but as I too glanced down I realized I’d been closing my eyes to the deteriorating landscape to allow me to write free of guilt.

No longer content with a ‘rustic’ back yard, I began ripping out the abandoned track for the garden railroad and tossing warped farm houses, train stations and water towers unable to withstand the hot California sun.

The back yard needed renovating, and I was determined to do the job, even if it would involve moving numerous wheelbarrows full of dirt.

Fast forward to early April. Stepping stones once used to support railroad ties now wind past a new herb garden and a bed of amaryllis plants and end at a new rock garden just coming to life. My bed of miniature roses is bursting with blooms this spring, thanks to the layer of compost covering their roots. They’ve never bloomed so well.

I’ve discovered an unexpected benefit of my extended sabbatical. As each new plant unfurled, so did my Muse. Monday I’ll once again be seated at my desk, making interesting new characters come to life. Do you suppose my next heroine will like to garden?

A. J. Williams’ Cover Reveal for March Release

His Final Bounty

Release: March 1 2014

Author: AJ Wiliams

Published: Self

Genre: Contemporary Steamy Romance

Blurb:

Eva Rosenberg, hacks a secret file of Jefferson’s and discovers the man who shattered her heart and her world has one giant secret.

Jefferson Anders’ current bounty hunting status has allowed him to hide in the shadows, never forcing him to face the secrets of his past. Having spent five years hiding the truth, he never dreamed the secrets of his past would catch up to him. Secrets which cost him both the love of his life and connection to his family. Now, he must face the mistakes of his past.

With a confrontation looming with Eva and a possible death threat, they must work as a team to find forgiveness and defeat the enemy that waits in the shadows.

I’m so excited for her.

You can learn more about the Author and her books hereClose up portrait in slight sepia toning against water:

Website: http://www.ajwiliams.com (under construction)

Blog: ajwiliamsromanceauthor.blogspot.com

FaceBook Page https://www.facebook.com/AjWiliams

Twitter https://twitter.com/AJ_Wiliams

Great Balls of Fire is available through December 8 at Kindle Countdown

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Great Balls of Fire, Book 2 of the Atlanta Burning erotic series is available for $.99 now through 8 a.m. on December 8th for $.99 at Kindle Countdown.
 Here’s a buy link: 
 Here’s a Blurb:

Wiping the slate clean for Winston Harrison Gentry the Third will not be easy, but Paris, the youngest of the three Hampton sisters, agrees to handle Public Relations for the candidate’s reelection campaign.

When she promises to keep the notorious skirt chaser’s nose clean, she never dreams she’ll be the next enthralled woman hoping to jump the candidate’s bones.

She learns the press has greatly exaggerated Win’s success with the fairer sex, but he hasn’t objected until now. Redistricting has the Atlanta City Councilman from the Eighth Council District representing Buckhead, Georgia, running scared. The outrageously handsome politician must overcome bad press and earn voter approval in this new district or find himself out of a job.

The attraction between Paris and Win sizzles. She is challenged at every turn. His campaign manager resents her, the female college students volunteering to help his campaign only care about catching the candidate’s eye, and a local newspaper continues to badmouth the candidate.

Who is feeding the newspaper such dribble?

She uncovers a plot to discredit Win and must catch the culprits in the act to prove her case or risk Win losing the election while Paris loses her heart.

Great Balls of Fire Excerpt 1 – The Meet

“Polishing this tarnished apple will be another feather in my cap. Let’s just hope I land the job,” Paris Hampton told the curious cat watching her with an aloof gaze. She adored caring for Amos when Alan, its police officer owner went on stakeout.

She shut her laptop, pleased with her research on the Buckhead City Councilman in need of her public relations expertise to secure a different council seat.

Just as she’d suspected, Winston Harrison Gentry the Third had as many enemies among the press as he had faithful supporters.

Could a politician responsible for spearheading so many beneficial projects in Buckhead also be an insufferable cad?

He could, if she believed half of what she’d just read about him, but she’d soon know. Professor Bentley had assured her most of the newspaper reports hinting at his sexual prowess were greatly exaggerated, and she was inclined to agree. She doubted even a man addicted to sex could seduce new partners as often as the press claimed Gentry did.

The City Councilman representing Buckhead’s Eight District would be out on his ear if he didn’t win the special election to fill the newly redistricted seat on the Atlanta City Council.

Could he win?

Will I respect the man enough to help him win?

She’d know the answer as soon as she looked him in the eye and shook his hand, but there would be no handshaking unless she finished dressing. Her interview with the candidate was in less than an hour, half a mile away.

If I agree to do PR for Gentry should I try to whitewash the candidate or paint him in a new light?

She’d know once she spoke with him. Hopefully the candidate’s eyes would give her a window into his heart.

Thoughtful, she buttoned her navy suit skirt over a white silk blouse with a ruffled neck.

Strange our paths had never crossed.

The candidate was forever appearing on the late news in a story about his arrival at some charity event with his current eye candy on his arm.

His popularity with the ladies should not make my stomach knot, but for some reason it does.

If her favorite English Comp professor vouched for Gentry he couldn’t be all bad, and Bent had sung his praises on the phone during his call to ask her to take his former student under her wing.

Paris gave her long blonde hair a final brushing, controlled the thick mass in a plain gold barrette she clasped at the base of her skull, and then slipped on the jacket of her favorite power suit and buttoned it. Long ruby earrings dangling from her pierced ears completed the look of a successful twenty-six-year-old business woman, exactly as she’d planned.

Gathering her purse and keys, she wished herself well in the entrance hall mirror. A confident woman preparing to enter the lion’s den smiled back at her, but Paris continued to question her unease as she drove north on Peachtree Road and turned into the Anchor’s Away parking lot.

Head held high she told the host, “Paris Hampton, I’m meeting Mr. Gentry,” then followed the balding man through the maze of noisy diners to his table.

“Here you are, miss.”

“Thank you.”

As both men occupying Bent’s table stood to shake her hand, she glanced at the stranger and caught him checking her out with a hungry gaze.

Gentry’s newspaper images failed to do him justice.

He was not at all what she’d expected. Paris focused on the man she already knew. “Professor Bentley, it’s good to see you again.”

“You look lovely, Paris. May I introduce Winston Gentry — Win to you?”

Her professor had insisted his students call him Bent, but she didn’t feel comfortable doing so among strangers, and Winston Harrison Gentry the Third was the most intriguing stranger she’d ever met.

The slight graying of the hair above his ears gave him a distinguished look not noticeable on TV. His presence filled the room and sucked the air right out of her struggling lungs.

Somewhere she found the strength to hold out her hand and smile at the man ogling her. She quickly glanced away.

No, I will not be your next conquest.

I intend to stay on my toes around you.

Finally able to draw a breath, she focused her attention on Win, only to have the air sucked from her lungs again.

Her father’s magnetism drew crowds. This man could draw the attention of everyone in the crowded room by clearing his throat.

“Paris,” he said, holding her hand far too long.

His deep voice detonated shock waves in her.

How does he do that?

Heaven help her. Like Daniel, she’d stepped into the lion’s den with only her brain to fend off this powerful man.

“Please be seated,” Win said, “so we can get this sorted out. What would you like to drink?”

Nothing strong. She was drunk enough in Win’s presence without adding liquor to the mix.

“Coffee,” she told the waiter, smiling at him to hide her unease. She’d never had a job interview over lunch before, nor been made to feel like the entrée by an interested look.

Better mind my p’s and q’s or one of the forks at my place is bound to wind up on the floor.

“I took the liberty of ordering for us. I hope you like wild Alaskan salmon and Caesar salad,” Win said, and Paris nodded. “Good. Bent asked you here today to–”

“–do emergency repair on Win’s image,” the professor said, grinning at the candidate. “You and I discussed this a little on the phone, Paris. Win has a way of acting without weighing the consequences, and there’s no way in hell he can retain a seat on the City Council in this upcoming election without someone putting the proper spin on his publicity.”

“Can you help, Paris?” Win asked.

“If what I’ve read about you in the papers since Monday is true, I’m not sure. Did you really let three women into your apartment? Didn’t you realize how that might look to the press?”

At least he stopped to think before replying. She smiled to herself.

He shrugged. “I tend not to think clearly when three good looking women are throwing themselves at me.”

“Does it happen often?”

“It does to me.”

The conversation paused for the waiter to deliver their salads, giving Paris a chance to collect her thoughts. Win’s deep voice had a hypnotizing effect on her and she had to force herself to concentrate on his words or risk missing his point. It wouldn’t do to ask him to repeat his answers.

After promising to bring a pitcher of ice tea the waiter departed and Paris resumed the interview. “Where do you think you made your first mistake that evening, Win?”

“In letting three uninvited women into my place, strangers at that.”

“And your last mistake?”

“Shouting at the reporter who called to ask the women’s names.”

“You should have called the police the minute those women showed up at your door.”

Bent grinned proudly. “I told you Paris would know just the right spin to put on things.”

She smiled at Win. “What made you decide to run for office?”

“I wanted a hand in controlling Buckhead’s growth.”

“Were you successful in your first term?”

“Not as much as I would have liked to be. There are some deep pockets in this City determined to push through their own projects without giving any thought to planned growth.”

“Welcome to the real world. If you get elected to represent this new district do you foresee any changes in those deep pocket’s attitude?”

“No, but during this last term I learned some negotiating skills I was just beginning to put into practice when all this redistricting talk began.”

Good, he isn’t averse to changing his ways.

“And if you’re elected you plan to use those new skills on the opposition?”

“Can’t see that it would hurt.”

“Then let’s discuss what needs to be done to give you that chance. First, if I take this job, all social and political requests for your presence must be approved by me.”

“What’s my–” Win struggled to rise, then slumped onto his chair when Bent touched his arm.

All your appearances are to be scheduled through me. That’s a steadfast rule I don’t want broken.”

“I don’t see why?”

“Do you remember the married elected official who was arrested with a prostitute last year? The story made front page of every newspaper in the country. I don’t want something like that happening to you. If I accept your offer and join your staff, I intend to see you keep your nose clean. It won’t be easy, and you’ll hate me long before election day.”

“Is all this really necessary?” he asked, appealing to Bent.

“Yes, it is,” Paris said, answering instead. “Everything you say or do is big news now. You shouldn’t even smile at an attractive woman unless I’ve placed a dossier about her on your desk.”

“But–”

“I know. My rule removes all spontaneity from skirt chasing, and is my intent. I won’t tolerate any bad press on my watch. Understood? And have a peephole installed in your front door. Today, if possible.”

Win nodded, not looking at all happy about her demands, but finally accepting them.

While one waiter cleared the table, another delivered salmon Oscar, and for a few moments political talk ceased as the three of them ate.

Win broke the silence, his jaw tight. “Mind telling me how a pretty young woman like you has learned so much about human nature?”

Paris squared her shoulders. “I learned most of what I know from Bent while editing the Bulldog News.”

“You think you can pull this off?”

“Only if I have your full cooperation. What do you have on your calendar for the coming week?”

From his blank expression, the candidate had no idea.

“Do you have anything scheduled for tonight?”

“I’m speaking at a banquet honoring veterans who’ve made Buckhead their home.”

“Mind if I attend?”

Something flashed in Win’s eyes. “Do I look like I need a baby sitter?”

“That’s depends, but if I take this job you will have one, at least for the next few weeks, so get used to the idea.”

He glanced at Bent, his jaw again tight. “When will you decide?”

“As soon as you agree to my terms.”

Win winced. “You mean the part about all social and political dates being cleared through you? You drive a hard bargain.”

Paris smiled sweetly. “What’s your approval rating today?”

He yielded the floor to Bent. “Less than 30%, I’d say.”

Judging from the slump of his shoulders, Win agreed.

“This is a new district, and you’re facing an uphill climb. The voters are just as upset about the redistricting as you are, I imagine, but every day you stick to my rules, I expect your approval rate to climb.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“I’ve been in public relations long enough to know what makes news. On a slow day reporters dig around for anything they figure local politicians are trying to hide. After quarterbacks, actors and pro-golfers, elected officials are their favorite targets. Your job from now on is to make the right kind of news. Can you handle that?”

“What will you be doing?”

“Making the story go away if you screw up. Bent said you aren’t married. Do you have a significant other?”

Win narrowed his eyes. “No, are you applying for that position, too?”

As ridiculous as the possibility seemed, it somehow appealed to Paris and her silly heart warmed to him.

“Not until after I see you elected,” she said, smiling sweetly again to conceal her surprise at his unsettling question.

“Children,” Bent said, strangling on his tea. “Let’s not square off in public.”

“So what’s next?” Win looked contrite.

“From now on I don’t want to read in the morning paper about who you went bar-hopping with the night before or your latest conquest. No candidate can count on being elected if he or she makes the wrong kind of news.”

Bent grinned. “I think she has you number, Win. Listen to her. It’s sound advice.”

Paris glowed under his praise. “What’s the dress code for tonight?”

Win’s stiff countenance softened. “Formal. Sorry for the short notice. Does this mean you’ll join my staff and make me look good again in the voter’s eyes?” She nodded. “Great.”

Or not, we’ll see.

Paris extended her hand for Win to shake and then wished she hadn’t.

This man has more charisma in his little finger than most men have in their entire being.

Virginia had warned her to stay away from Winston Gentry.

It may already be too late, Sis. I feel drawn to Win like a lioness to the kill.

 Here’s an excerpt:

Great Balls of Fire Excerpt 1 – The Meet

“Polishing this tarnished apple will be another feather in my cap. Let’s just hope I land the job,” Paris Hampton told the curious cat watching her with an aloof gaze. She adored caring for Amos when Alan, its police officer owner went on stakeout.

She shut her laptop, pleased with her research on the Buckhead City Councilman in need of her public relations expertise to secure a different council seat.

Just as she’d suspected, Winston Harrison Gentry the Third had as many enemies among the press as he had faithful supporters.

Could a politician responsible for spearheading so many beneficial projects in Buckhead also be an insufferable cad?

He could, if she believed half of what she’d just read about him, but she’d soon know. Professor Bentley had assured her most of the newspaper reports hinting at his sexual prowess were greatly exaggerated, and she was inclined to agree. She doubted even a man addicted to sex could seduce new partners as often as the press claimed Gentry did.

The City Councilman representing Buckhead’s Eight District would be out on his ear if he didn’t win the special election to fill the newly redistricted seat on the Atlanta City Council.

Could he win?

Will I respect the man enough to help him win?

She’d know the answer as soon as she looked him in the eye and shook his hand, but there would be no handshaking unless she finished dressing. Her interview with the candidate was in less than an hour, half a mile away.

If I agree to do PR for Gentry should I try to whitewash the candidate or paint him in a new light?

She’d know once she spoke with him. Hopefully the candidate’s eyes would give her a window into his heart.

Thoughtful, she buttoned her navy suit skirt over a white silk blouse with a ruffled neck.

Strange our paths had never crossed.

The candidate was forever appearing on the late news in a story about his arrival at some charity event with his current eye candy on his arm.

His popularity with the ladies should not make my stomach knot, but for some reason it does.

If her favorite English Comp professor vouched for Gentry he couldn’t be all bad, and Bent had sung his praises on the phone during his call to ask her to take his former student under her wing.

Paris gave her long blonde hair a final brushing, controlled the thick mass in a plain gold barrette she clasped at the base of her skull, and then slipped on the jacket of her favorite power suit and buttoned it. Long ruby earrings dangling from her pierced ears completed the look of a successful twenty-six-year-old business woman, exactly as she’d planned.

Gathering her purse and keys, she wished herself well in the entrance hall mirror. A confident woman preparing to enter the lion’s den smiled back at her, but Paris continued to question her unease as she drove north on Peachtree Road and turned into the Anchor’s Away parking lot.

Head held high she told the host, “Paris Hampton, I’m meeting Mr. Gentry,” then followed the balding man through the maze of noisy diners to his table.

“Here you are, miss.”

“Thank you.”

As both men occupying Bent’s table stood to shake her hand, she glanced at the stranger and caught him checking her out with a hungry gaze.

Gentry’s newspaper images failed to do him justice.

He was not at all what she’d expected. Paris focused on the man she already knew. “Professor Bentley, it’s good to see you again.”

“You look lovely, Paris. May I introduce Winston Gentry — Win to you?”

Her professor had insisted his students call him Bent, but she didn’t feel comfortable doing so among strangers, and Winston Harrison Gentry the Third was the most intriguing stranger she’d ever met.

The slight graying of the hair above his ears gave him a distinguished look not noticeable on TV. His presence filled the room and sucked the air right out of her struggling lungs.

Somewhere she found the strength to hold out her hand and smile at the man ogling her. She quickly glanced away.

No, I will not be your next conquest.

I intend to stay on my toes around you.

Finally able to draw a breath, she focused her attention on Win, only to have the air sucked from her lungs again.

Her father’s magnetism drew crowds. This man could draw the attention of everyone in the crowded room by clearing his throat.

“Paris,” he said, holding her hand far too long.

His deep voice detonated shock waves in her.

How does he do that?

Heaven help her. Like Daniel, she’d stepped into the lion’s den with only her brain to fend off this powerful man.

“Please be seated,” Win said, “so we can get this sorted out. What would you like to drink?”

Nothing strong. She was drunk enough in Win’s presence without adding liquor to the mix.

“Coffee,” she told the waiter, smiling at him to hide her unease. She’d never had a job interview over lunch before, nor been made to feel like the entrée by an interested look.

Better mind my p’s and q’s or one of the forks at my place is bound to wind up on the floor.

“I took the liberty of ordering for us. I hope you like wild Alaskan salmon and Caesar salad,” Win said, and Paris nodded. “Good. Bent asked you here today to–”

“–do emergency repair on Win’s image,” the professor said, grinning at the candidate. “You and I discussed this a little on the phone, Paris. Win has a way of acting without weighing the consequences, and there’s no way in hell he can retain a seat on the City Council in this upcoming election without someone putting the proper spin on his publicity.”

“Can you help, Paris?” Win asked.

“If what I’ve read about you in the papers since Monday is true, I’m not sure. Did you really let three women into your apartment? Didn’t you realize how that might look to the press?”

At least he stopped to think before replying. She smiled to herself.

He shrugged. “I tend not to think clearly when three good looking women are throwing themselves at me.”

“Does it happen often?”

“It does to me.”

The conversation paused for the waiter to deliver their salads, giving Paris a chance to collect her thoughts. Win’s deep voice had a hypnotizing effect on her and she had to force herself to concentrate on his words or risk missing his point. It wouldn’t do to ask him to repeat his answers.

After promising to bring a pitcher of ice tea the waiter departed and Paris resumed the interview. “Where do you think you made your first mistake that evening, Win?”

“In letting three uninvited women into my place, strangers at that.”

“And your last mistake?”

“Shouting at the reporter who called to ask the women’s names.”

“You should have called the police the minute those women showed up at your door.”

Bent grinned proudly. “I told you Paris would know just the right spin to put on things.”

She smiled at Win. “What made you decide to run for office?”

“I wanted a hand in controlling Buckhead’s growth.”

“Were you successful in your first term?”

“Not as much as I would have liked to be. There are some deep pockets in this City determined to push through their own projects without giving any thought to planned growth.”

“Welcome to the real world. If you get elected to represent this new district do you foresee any changes in those deep pocket’s attitude?”

“No, but during this last term I learned some negotiating skills I was just beginning to put into practice when all this redistricting talk began.”

Good, he isn’t averse to changing his ways.

“And if you’re elected you plan to use those new skills on the opposition?”

“Can’t see that it would hurt.”

“Then let’s discuss what needs to be done to give you that chance. First, if I take this job, all social and political requests for your presence must be approved by me.”

“What’s my–” Win struggled to rise, then slumped onto his chair when Bent touched his arm.

All your appearances are to be scheduled through me. That’s a steadfast rule I don’t want broken.”

“I don’t see why?”

“Do you remember the married elected official who was arrested with a prostitute last year? The story made front page of every newspaper in the country. I don’t want something like that happening to you. If I accept your offer and join your staff, I intend to see you keep your nose clean. It won’t be easy, and you’ll hate me long before election day.”

“Is all this really necessary?” he asked, appealing to Bent.

“Yes, it is,” Paris said, answering instead. “Everything you say or do is big news now. You shouldn’t even smile at an attractive woman unless I’ve placed a dossier about her on your desk.”

“But–”

“I know. My rule removes all spontaneity from skirt chasing, and is my intent. I won’t tolerate any bad press on my watch. Understood? And have a peephole installed in your front door. Today, if possible.”

Win nodded, not looking at all happy about her demands, but finally accepting them.

While one waiter cleared the table, another delivered salmon Oscar, and for a few moments political talk ceased as the three of them ate.

Win broke the silence, his jaw tight. “Mind telling me how a pretty young woman like you has learned so much about human nature?”

Paris squared her shoulders. “I learned most of what I know from Bent while editing the Bulldog News.”

“You think you can pull this off?”

“Only if I have your full cooperation. What do you have on your calendar for the coming week?”

From his blank expression, the candidate had no idea.

“Do you have anything scheduled for tonight?”

“I’m speaking at a banquet honoring veterans who’ve made Buckhead their home.”

“Mind if I attend?”

Something flashed in Win’s eyes. “Do I look like I need a baby sitter?”

“That’s depends, but if I take this job you will have one, at least for the next few weeks, so get used to the idea.”

He glanced at Bent, his jaw again tight. “When will you decide?”

“As soon as you agree to my terms.”

Win winced. “You mean the part about all social and political dates being cleared through you? You drive a hard bargain.”

Paris smiled sweetly. “What’s your approval rating today?”

He yielded the floor to Bent. “Less than 30%, I’d say.”

Judging from the slump of his shoulders, Win agreed.

“This is a new district, and you’re facing an uphill climb. The voters are just as upset about the redistricting as you are, I imagine, but every day you stick to my rules, I expect your approval rate to climb.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“I’ve been in public relations long enough to know what makes news. On a slow day reporters dig around for anything they figure local politicians are trying to hide. After quarterbacks, actors and pro-golfers, elected officials are their favorite targets. Your job from now on is to make the right kind of news. Can you handle that?”

“What will you be doing?”

“Making the story go away if you screw up. Bent said you aren’t married. Do you have a significant other?”

Win narrowed his eyes. “No, are you applying for that position, too?”

As ridiculous as the possibility seemed, it somehow appealed to Paris and her silly heart warmed to him.

“Not until after I see you elected,” she said, smiling sweetly again to conceal her surprise at his unsettling question.

“Children,” Bent said, strangling on his tea. “Let’s not square off in public.”

“So what’s next?” Win looked contrite.

“From now on I don’t want to read in the morning paper about who you went bar-hopping with the night before or your latest conquest. No candidate can count on being elected if he or she makes the wrong kind of news.”

Bent grinned. “I think she has you number, Win. Listen to her. It’s sound advice.”

Paris glowed under his praise. “What’s the dress code for tonight?”

Win’s stiff countenance softened. “Formal. Sorry for the short notice. Does this mean you’ll join my staff and make me look good again in the voter’s eyes?” She nodded. “Great.”

Or not, we’ll see.

Paris extended her hand for Win to shake and then wished she hadn’t.

This man has more charisma in his little finger than most men have in their entire being.

Virginia had warned her to stay away from Winston Gentry.

It may already be too late, Sis. I feel drawn to Win like a lioness to the kill.

 

flame icon 002Blog – What the Heart Yearns For
Dictionary .com defines yearning like this, based on the Random House Dictionary published in 2013:
“YEARNING suggests persistent, uneasy, and sometimes wistful or tender longing.”
When I see the word YEARNING I always think of Marjorie Rawlings novel The Yearling. There was enough hopeless yearning in that book to last me a lifetime.
I YEARN for things beyond my control, reach and pocketbook: a cruise up the River Nile and a new SUV top my list. And I YEARN for my latest release to hit a bestseller list.
Heroines of romance novels and movies sometimes have more YEARNINGS than they have desires. In Casablanca Ilsa YEARNS to share a world free from war with Rick. He YEARNS for Ilsa to want to stay with him, even though he fears she’ll never leave her husband. In Come the Dawn by Christina Skye, India Delamere YEARNS for her husband to recover from amnesia and remember the feel of her in his arms. She also YEARNS for their infant son who died suddenly.
Things we desire and the things we YEARN for are much like a list of needs and wants. We need nourishment but we want chocolate mousse. I desire my husband but YEARN for him to want me at those odd times when I suddenly want to be held.
In Great Balls of Fire, the second novel in my Atlanta Burning Series which just released, Paris Hamilton YEARNS for a man to love her and give her babies, not realizing she has already found him: Winston Gentry, the candidate for City Council she is helping to win the election.

Novels in the Atlanta Burning Series are available for download here:
http://amzn.to/1f0HrET

Visit Flame here:
http://www.FlameArden.com

flame icon 002

What the Heart Longs For

LONGINGS

LONGINGS

Blog – What the Heart Longs For

While writing this I was reminded of the lyrics to the Guy Mitchell ballad:
“My heart cries for you,
Sighs, for you, dies for you,
My heart longs for you,
Please come back to me.”

Dictionary.com defines LONGING like this, based on the Random House Dictionary published in 2013:
“A LONGING is an intense wish, generally repeated or enduring, for something that is at the moment beyond reach but may be attainable at some future time: a longing to visit Europe.”

For me, a LONGING is the hollow feeling I get in the pit of a stomach when I finally accept my deepest desire is unattainable.

LONGINGS come in all forms, whether whimsical or real:
• The constant longing to lose weight.
• The impossible longing to be taller, shorter, or happier.
• The unrelenting longing for a permanent home.
• The foolish longing to be a millionaire.
• The permanent longing to be loved.

Be aware, a LONGING too long unfulfilled can lead to depression.

In Gone With the Wind Scarlett O’Hara longs for Ashley to love her the way she loves him. For the war to be over. And for freedom from the fear of starvation.

In Mobey Dick, Herman Melville’s novel about a seaman and a whale, every November when the weather turns cold and drizzly Ishamel LONGS to sail and takes to the sea.

In my latest erotic novel release, And You, Virginia, Are No Lady, Virginia longs to spend time with the private eye she had a crush on in high school, the school bad boy, despite the knowledge going out with this employee of her law firm could get her disbarred.

Will her longing make her lose her hard-earned place in the community?
Or will Virginia find a way to have her cake and eat Gabe, too?

And You, Virginia, Are No Lady is available for download here: http://amzn.to/12MtT9w

Blog – What the Heart Craves

Dictionary.com defines CRAVING like this, based on the Random House Dictionary published in 2013: CRAVING implies a deep and imperative wish for something, based on need or hunger… Ask any pregnant woman. She might not be able to define CRAVING, but she can tell you exactly what she CRAVES at any given moment. Throughout history, greedy kings have CRAVED riches and power and given little thought to the danger to those who stood in their way. The heroine of a romance novel CRAVES the hero’s touch, his caress, his kiss. The hero CRAVES the sound of her voice, the gentle touch of her hand, the intense pleasure of holding her in his arms again. In And You, Virginia, Are No Lady, I gave Virginia an uncontrollable CRAVING for Gabe. She even risks being disbarred to spend a few hours in his arms. Here’s a sample: Virginia grinned. She’d surprised Gabe when she’d pulled the safety helmet he’d offered her down over her ears, climbed on his Harley, adjusted her borrowed goggles and pulled on a pair of too big gloves. Now, snuggled close behind him to keep the wind from chapping her sensitive skin, her thoughts surprised her. Fresh from a recent shower, Gabe smelled like erotic temptation. She rubbed her cheek against his leather jacket, longing to lick his tanned skin. Not good. She’d known hiring this bad boy would be a mistake, she just hadn’t realized what her lapse in judgment would cost her in restraint. This close proximity to her nemesis was causing her stomach to churn and her self-esteem to sink about as low as he wore his belt. Dammit. It had been too long since she sat this close to a heart-stopping man who wasn’t on trial and the vibration from the road was turning her on. She forced her gaze back to their surroundings. Gabe had promised the diner he had in mind wasn’t far, but as they careened through a seedy business district, she began to have doubts about their destination, too. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be seen with this hunk. She simply shouldn’t be seen with him. She strived to present a squeaky-clean image to the legal community, a close-knit group ready to pounce on every tidbit of gossip, illuminate and enlarge on it, then cast the juicy tidbit to the wind and watch to see who their scattered crumbs hurt. She’d never given them anything to talk about and hoped this was not a first. Virginia’s strong CRAVINGS for Gabe lead them on a merry chase. You can download Virginia’s story here, to find out how she and the bad boy resolve their problems: http://amzn.to/12MtT9w