Tuesday, December 30, 2008
He poops behind my chair, then pees in front of the couch.
I didn't want to have to go full crate training on him because I'm home all day, but it doesn't seem like I have much of a choice. I don't get a lot of help from either the man or the boy when they are around. They basically ignore him, and if I'm doing something, say cooking dinner, then I have no choice. He's going to have to go in the crate.
No, I'm not blaming him. It's all my fault. It always is around here, anyway.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
New Year's Eve Edition
Thanks to the Dave Letterman Show archive 1994.
Top Ten Signs You're at a Bad New Year's Eve Party
Brand of champagne: Dom Deluise
At midnight everyone gathers around to watch your Uncle Earl's pants drop
You wake up the next morning wearing a medallion and there's a note from Al Sharpton that says, "I'll call you"
You hear a guy count down before using the bathroom
Joycelyn Elders is there trying to get herself drunk
It's eleven o'clock at night, and you're watching Roger Ebert play Twister
Six times in a row, a champagne cork lodges in your trachea
The so-called "Party Hats" are really Letterman's old hairpieces
Everyone's gathered around the TV watching that geezer from "American Bandstand"
It's over by 9:30
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The World: A Twist of Fate
By: Karen Michelle Nutt
Published By: Tease Publishing LLC
ISBN # 978-1-934678-91-6
Word Count: 91,000
All Romance Ebooks:
Coming soon to Print!
Has a twist of fate sent her back in time?
Arianna Ward wakes up to find her memory in fragments, like a long forgotten dream. Everyone claims her name is Annabelle. The year is 1814 and she's married to Captain Keldon Buchanan, a man who despises her. The more she learns about her life, the more she realizes why she's chosen to forget it. Arianna is determined to prove she isn't a malicious and deceitful person. She doesn't understand why she wanted to destroy her marriage when her heart tells her she belongs with Keldon.
Keldon harbors his own secrets. He's the Highland Pirate and secrecy is the difference between life and death. He doesn't trust his wife, but he finds his heart softening to the woman his wife has become. If he didn't know better, he'd swear he's married to another person and he's falling in love with her.
The Battle of New Orleans threatens Keldon and Arianna's safety, but the past haunts them, jeopardizing their chance for happiness.
Blue Run Plantation, South Carolina
Songs from Aerosmith blared from the roller coaster ride drowning out the screams as the people in the cars sped around the track. The aroma of the sweet, sugary smell of cotton candy and buttered popcorn filled the night air. Paper wrappers, cups and cheap stuffed animals littered the fairgrounds. Families, couples--young and old laughed and joked as they tried their hands at the carnival games while stuffing their faces with hot dogs, hamburgers, or big turkey legs.
The muggy air promised rain later tonight, but no one seemed anxious to leave the festivities. Arianna plopped down on the bench and smiled. She had helped the historical society plan the event and all proceeds from the carnival's productive night would go toward the restoration of Blue Run Plantation.
Her eyes wandered toward the mansion silhouetted against the darkening sky of blue, orange and gold. In the colonial era, the river served as a highway for the Low Country plantations and the families used the tides to travel. She could only imagine how majestic the Blue Run would have stood facing the Ashley River.
She turned and waved as she caught sight of Megan hurrying toward her. Her long brown ponytail swung behind her with purpose, making Arianna suspicious. “What does the spitfire want me to do now?” she whispered under her breath.
Megan pulled Arianna to her feet. “Everyone's been talking about Madam Carlotta.”
“The gypsy fortuneteller. People claim she has been freakishly accurate. We have to check this out.”
“And why would I care?” Arianna dragged her feet.
“We're going to have our fortunes told. I want to know if Gregory plans on proposing to me on my birthday.”
Megan and Gregory had been a couple since their first year of college and the way he's been scraping and saving, Arianna could give the prediction herself. Gregory would propose no doubt about it. “Megan, I don't--”
“And you're going to find out who your one and only is.”
Arianna drew in a frustrated sigh. “Not everyone is destined to find his or her soul mate.” At twenty-six, Arianna had become a successful music teacher at USC School of Music. With heavy schedules, concerts, and her time with the historical society, dating became a distant memory.
Megan stopped in her tracks and spun her around. “You don't give a guy a chance. Look at you.” She swung her hand up from Arianna's head to her toes. “Talented, tall, slender, blonde with cornflower blue eyes--men should be lining up to snatch you up, but you snub your nose.”
“Do not.” She lifted her chin.
Megan laughed. “Sure you don't. You spend all your free time researching for the Historical Society and with the new items they uncovered you've been busier than ever. And I'll have you know, I've seen you stare at the portrait.”
“Oh, don't act all innocent. The portrait of the dark, handsome, brooding man related to the Buchanans of Blue Run. If you ask me, the family buried the portrait for a reason, probably an embarrassment to their refined upstanding position in society. I don't need to do research. The man's arrogant stance reeks of danger and my guess is he paid for it with his life.”
“It appears I'm not the only one obsessed with the portrait.”
“Only because I was curious as to why you've become a hermit. If you want someone dangerous, at least make sure he's alive. Now stop stalling and let's find out if Carlotta knows where your dark and dangerous guy is hiding.”
“Very funny.” Arianna shook her head. “Where are we going anyway?”
“To the mansion. Don't you find it perfect?”
“No, I don't find it perfect. The mansion isn't safe for people to run in and out of; it's still being restored. How did this gypsy woman obtain permission?”
“Oh lighten up, Arianna. Someone from the Historical Society must have given her the keys. Besides, she's drawing in loads of money. Isn't that the plan?”
“Sure, but--” Thunder rumbled cutting off Arianna's words and she gave up arguing. “We're in for a storm tonight.” Arianna looked up at the sky as a flash of light sizzled across the heavens.
“All the more reason to hurry. My hair will frizz worse than it has already.”
Torches lined the walk like breadcrumbs leading them to their destination. Arianna stopped and placed her hands on her hips. She frowned at the big purple sign over the entrance of the mansion that spelled out FORTUNES, in bold black letters. “She's defacing private property.”
Megan yanked her arm. “Sue her later, but first our fortunes.”
They stepped into the front foyer of darkness. A battery operated globe stood on the floor giving the illusion of the heavens opening up to them. A foldable card table stood in the center of the foyer with a large crystal ball on display. Inside the glass an eerie glowing mist swirled around in milky silence. The fortuneteller wore a colorful scarf like a headband to keep her dark curly hair away from her face. She adorned herself with gold jewelry, hoops in her ears, with chains around her neck and bands around her wrists. The whole ensemble gave the appearance that she could be a descendant from gypsies.
Carlotta beckoned her forward, her bracelets tinkling like tiny bells. "One at a time, please." Her voice was rich, flavored with a fake Romanian accent. "Let Carlotta tell you what you want to know."
Megan gave Arianna a slight push. “I'll wait outside.
Arianna rolled her eyes at her friend, but she approached the table and sat down.
"For the cost of my eyesight into the future, there is a small donation of twenty dollars." She held out her hand and waited.
“Twenty …” she huffed. “Fine.” She reminded herself this was for a good cause. She pulled out a crisp bill from her purse and paid the hefty price.
Carlotta stuffed the money into a skull-adorned black box. "Now, we shall see what the cards hold for you. She shuffled the tarot cards before she turned them over revealing first the Death card, then the World card and then the Lovers card. “This cannot be right.”
Carlotta chuckled nervously. “Sometimes the cards are not clear.” She scooped them up and put them back in a pile. “Let me see your palm."
Arianna leaned forward and held out her hand.
The fortuneteller's brows furrowed as she concentrated, a look of fear passing over her features before she concealed her anxiety.
A primitive warning sounded in Arianna's mind. She suddenly didn't want her fortune read. She tried to pull her hand away, but Carlotta wouldn't release her.
"You have an interesting palm." Carlotta pointed to the line that ran the course of her hand. "This is your life line. You will live a long life."
“What's the shorter one next to it mean?”
Carlotta didn't answer. Her eyes rolled back in her head and her whole body jerked as if she was being controlled by another force. She flung to one side then the other before she sat up ramrod straight.
Blood slid through Arianna's veins like cold needles and she tried to break free, but Carlotta's grip was like a vice. As if this wasn't freaky enough, the woman began to hum.
Arianna froze and her eyes widened in surprise as she recognized the melody. It was an old Scottish tune, she'd been haunted by as long as she could remember. The melody lingered in her subconscious surfacing at odd moments like an annoying tick. Her parents swore they never taught her the song and no one knew where she'd picked up the tune.
How did this fake fortuneteller know it? Arianna again yanked her arm and this time pulled free. She rubbed her bruised hand, staring at the woman with suspicion.
Carlotta blinked rapidly before she focused her gaze on Arianna. "I am sorry. Did I hurt you?"
"I'm fine," Arianna answered, surprised that her voice sounded calm. "But I think I'll skip the fortunetelling, if you don't mind?" She didn't wait for Carlotta to say anything, but stood and hurried toward the exit.
"Arianna," Carlotta called.
She halted and whirled around. "How did you know my name?"
“Does it matter?”
She arched her brow. “Yes, I believe it does. Is this some kind of hoax?”
“You don't belong here.” Carlotta dropped her fake accent.
“There are souls out there … wandering … lost, but time always has a way of sorting out the mistakes. You belong to Blue Run. Your destiny intertwines with his.”
“What are you talking about?”
Carlotta walked around the table to face Arianna. "You must listen, for you don't have much time. You will think you have met your end, but it won't be over. You'll return to where you belong, and another woman will take your place of doom.”
“Is this all a part of your theatrical presentation because if it is, I don't like it?”
“In this other era, you will meet a very strong man with the blackest of hair.”
“Did you hear me?”
“His eyes will be green, clear and sharp like a cat,” Carlotta continued. “He is called …” She chewed on her lower lip, but then her eyes lit up. “The Scotsman. He is called the Scotsman. Trust him, for he will protect you. He may feel mistrust for you because of the other woman's black heart, but in time, he will see you for who you really are. He's your soul mate. It will be his child you carry."
Terror had kept Arianna frozen in her spot, enduring Carlotta's eerie premonition, but now the woman had finished and Arianna took a step back. “You're crazy.” She pointed her finger at her.
Thunder rolled shaking the rafters. Dust and debris fell around Arianna and she held up her hands to protect her head. Coughing, she turned and ran for the door, but a sharp pain to the back of her skull brought her to her knees.
“Watch out!” Carlotta warned.
Arianna looked over her shoulder. Her eyes widened in horror as she watched a wood beam hurdling toward her.
Carlotta finished what she set out to do here and packed her belongings. A crowd had gathered in the cramped foyer as the young paramedic frantically worked on Arianna, but in the end, he turned toward her friend, Megan and shook his head.
“Oh my God. I can't believe it. She can't be gone. She can't.”
Carlotta heard Megan's heartfelt cry and stepped forward, placing a hand on the young woman's shoulder. “She's not dead,” Carlotta told her.
Megan sniffed and wiped away the stream of tears running down her cheek. She turned toward the paramedic as he pulled a sheet over Arianna's face.
“Listen to me,” Carlotta insisted and Megan looked back at her again. “Listen to your heart. Arianna didn't die here tonight. She went back to where she belonged, back in time.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don't take my word. The proof is on her finger. Your friend wasn't married, am I correct?”
Megan nodded, her brows furrowing. “I don't understand what her being married or not has to do with it.
“Check the woman's finger for the proof of what I tell you. Trust me, Megan,” Carlotta insisted.
“How do you know my name? Who are you?”
“Who I am is not your concern. I only tell you what I know because Arianna would have wished you to know she is safe.”
Megan held the fortuneteller's gaze for a moment longer before she knelt down. She reached beneath the sheet for her friend's hand, surprised of how warm her flesh still felt. She stared at the huge sapphire wedding ring that had been set in gold. “This isn't hers.” Her voice was thick and unsteady. She whipped back the sheet and stared at the woman who had lost her life. “Oh my God!” She covered her mouth with her hand. The woman's haircut was slightly different without the streaks of pale-blonde. Her lashes were void of mascara, and she didn't have a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. “This isn't Arianna,” she said aloud knowing how ridiculous she sounded. How could this be? She looked up wanting answers but Carlotta had already vanished.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Top 10 Uses For Holiday Fruitcakes
10. Use slices to balance that wobbly kitchen table.
9. Use instead of sand bags during El Nino.
8. Send to U.S. Air Force, let troops drop them.
7. Use as railroad ties.
6. Use as speed bumps to foil the neighborhood drag racers.
5. Collect ten and use them as bowling pins.
4. Use instead of cement shoes.
3. Save for next summer's garage sale.
2. Use slices in next skeet-shooting competition.
1. Two words: pin cushion.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Blurb - Spirited young scribe Flavia hopes for freedom. She and her
fellow slaves in Aquae Sulis (modern Bath) have served the Lady
Valeria for many years, but their mistress' death brings a threat to
Flavia's dream: her new master Marcus Brucetus, a charismatic,
widowed officer toughened in the forests of Germania. Flavia finds
him overwhelmingly attractive but she is aware of the danger. To save
her life and those of her `family' she has forged a note from her
mistress. If her deception is discovered, all the slaves may die.
For his part torn between attraction and respect, Marcus will not
force himself on Flavia. Flavia by now knows of his grief over the
deaths of his wife Drusilla and child. But how can she match up to
the serene, flame-haired Drusilla?
As the wild mid-winter festival of Saturnalia approaches, many lives
will be changed forever.
Reviews. "I lived and breathed
Flavia's yearnings and love for Marcus throughout the pages. Thumbs
up Ms. Townsend! I loved every word of Flavia's Secret! 4.5 Blue
"An exciting mystery set in ancient Britain.
The romance between Flavia and Marcus is strong and passionate. Very
enjoyable. 4.5 Red Roses" —Red Roses for Authors.
weaves romance, intrigue, and historical fact into a unique and
compelling story. It is impossible to put it down once you've started
to read it. The reader will wish the story would go on forever. 4
Books" —Long and Short Reviews.
Also BOOK OF THE WEEK at Long and
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Why Christmas Trees Are Better Than Women
10. A Christmas tree doesn't care how many other Christmas trees you have
had in the past.
9. Christmas trees don't get mad if you use exotic electrical devices.
8. A Christmas tree doesn't care if you have an artificial one in the
7. A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you break one of its balls.
6. You can feel a Christmas tree before you take it home.
5. A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you look up underneath it.
4. When you are done with a Christmas tree you can throw it on the curb
and have it hauled away.
3. A Christmas tree doesn't get jealous around other Christmas trees.
2. A Christmas tree doesn't care if you watch football all day.
And the # ONE reason Christmas Trees are better than women
1. A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you tie it up and throw it in the
back of your pickup truck.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Aline de Chevigny
Forbidden Publications: http://www.forbiddenpublications.com/author_pages/aline_de_chevigny.html
Jennifer was having the worst Christmas ever. She'd just quit her job, her ex had happily married some blonde Barbie doll and the man of her dreams didn't even know she was alive.
Franko was through with women, or so he thought until the hottest little spitfire he'd ever met walked into him and set him straight. He now had five days until she left the mine for good to convince her that he was the Christmas gift of her dreams.
Grinning, she pressed her herself closer and cupped a hand around his other cheek, then stood on her toes to kiss him again. "Why wait?" She'd wanted to do this for so long now, there was no way in hell she was letting food distract her.
"Or not," he announced with a laugh, tightening his hold around her and giving into her demand.
Jennifer knew what she wanted, him naked in her bed, and if Franko was willing, she was determined to get it. The second she felt his hands on her ass, she used that leverage to climb up his body and wrapped her legs around his waist to support herself. A soft moan of pleasure escaped her, as his lips left a path of fiery kisses down her neck and back to her lips.
No one had ever made her feel this wanton with just one kiss before. She wanted him, and all that clothing he was wearing was getting in the way of her desire. "We should lock the door." She whispered into his ear, while his lips traveled down her neck towards the swell of her breasts.
Sliding his hands more firmly under her ass, he recaptured her lips in a heated kiss and stepped over to lock the door.
"Franko, aren't I getting heavy?"
"Honey, my tool belt weighs more than you do."
Jennifer laughed at his serious tone and ran her fingers through the sides of his salt and pepper hair. He was only three years her senior at thirty seven, but the white was already outnumbering the black in his short, thick, curls. "Are you comparing me to your tool belt?"
Elizabeth's Reviews --- 3.5 Phoenixes
Having worked the past few Christmases, Jennifer had been looking forward to spending this festive season with her family. But now she is stuck on-site, as all flights out have been cancelled! But maybe all is not lost. Perhaps she'll receive a fabulous gift this year, in the form of Franko. He's hot, she's interested – and so is he!
Merry Christmas To Me is a fun, cute Christmas novella that will take little time to read but will induce much enjoyment. Jennifer is an intriguing character. She has been burnt in the past and is well known on-site for not sleeping around – to the extent that there is a running bet on who can get her into bed first! Franko is the only man she is interested in. He is fairly new to the site and as far as Jennifer knows, unaware of her existence. Except he is, and he is very interested in Jennifer. If only he can get close enough to let her know. Franko himself is a big man, in build and character. His protective instincts towards Jennifer were wonderful. Both characters have a part in the telling of the tale, which really helps the reader gain insight into their thoughts, actions and emotions. There is detailed intimacy between the characters, though not anything offensive. On a note of caution, there are spelling and grammatical errors, which did mar the enjoyment of the tale as they interrupted the story's flow, hence a drop on the rating the book receives. Still, Merry Christmas To Me is a good Christmas quickie, with likeable characters and a believable, festive plot.
Yahoo Group: http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/elizabethsreviews
Two Lips Reviews – 4 Lips
Aline de Chevigny pens a beautiful short story about a man scarred for life, who is sure he will never know love. He finds it with Jennifer, who is able to see past his face to capture his heart. Jennifer has a reputation as a cold-hearted woman, but Franko is about to learn that is anything but true. Preconceptions and misunderstandings have these two lovers working at cross purposes until Franko takes matters into his own hands. Merry Christmas to Me brought back fond memories of "Beauty and the Beast", and has the same kind of enduring magic. Beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
It's that time again. I have puppy pictures!!
Don't let that face fool you. He's quite the Rascal. We're still working on housetraining and he's now officially eight weeks old. He's gained about four ounces since we brought him home, which since he probably won't top three pounds is great! He gets this roly-poly look when he's done eating. Like he ate a small ball. Or a large one. LOL
Also, don't forget. There's several scavenger hunts going on. I'm paired with Dani Harper and Cathy Stang, Ciar Cullen and several others. Want the skinny, stop by my website and click on the banners for the details. There's buckets if prizes to be had!
December 12, this Friday will be a fun one at SRN. It's our second annual Christmas bash, and I have it on good authority that a LOT of authors donated to the prize pool. We'll be going from 2-8p CST so stop in, say hi and join in on the fun and excerpts. We'll have recipes to share, christmas memories, and loads of book fun.
Lastly, don't forget Stacy Dawn is holding a lovely Christmas blogfest and she's letting authors take over the blog!
Now on the book front. It looks like Trusting Delilah, the first of the shifter series will be releasing in ebook on January 15, just in time for my birthday! I hope you'll be around to have some fun with this new series. Excerpts and blurbs can be found on my website. In the meantime, I hope you'll check out what's happening around and stop in and say hi. We'd love to see you!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Isn't this just what a lot of people have been complaining about? Companies pushing a book as a romance, when the romance isn't the driving force in the story? It's been marketed as ... Are you sitting down for this?.... A Contemporary! Yep, right on the spine. Zebra Contemporary. The story line itself is Vampires, but there's been an interesting interpretation of a ghoul, and now a shapeshifter. How on earth is that a contemporary?
I have been lost a couple times because of the reference points, thoughts made by the listener rather than the speaker, inside diaologue parts. I read it in spurts. The story is good, very good in fact, but I keep reading waiting for more about the romance and it's not there. Granted this is the fourth in a series (If they weren't good, I wouldn't read a whole series) and an older release - 2006, but not so old that some sense of the book would have been warranted in 2004 when it was purchased by Zebra.
So, I ask you, what happened to Romance? Love your British ways Rosemary, but I'm feeling bereft without the romantic weight of the story.
To: All Staff
Date: December 1
Subject: New "Twelve Days of Christmas" Policy
The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.
Streamlining is due to the North Pole's loss of dominance in the season's gift distribution business. Home Shopping TV channels and mail order catalogues have diminished Santa's market share. He and the Board could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the profit picture.
The reindeer downsizing was made possible through purchase of a late model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip. Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is anticipated. Reduction in the reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavorable press (gas and solid waste).
We're pleased to inform you that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole!
Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose get red, not from the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of the year when they are known to be under 'executive stress'.
As for further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" music subsidiary:
1) The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced the cash crop forecasted, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance;
2) Two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated;
3) The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French;
4) The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked;
5) The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals, as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks, appear to be in order;
6) The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that, from now on, every goose it gets will be a good one;
7) The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes, thereby enhancing their outplacement;
8) As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching;
9) Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;
10) Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords, plus the expense of international air travel, prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant as we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year;
11) Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music, and no uniforms, will produce savings which will drop right to the bottom line;
Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and related expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.
Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"), a decision is pending.
Deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to remain competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.
Happy Holidays all!!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Five years ago they landed on Earth. Thirty-one aliens called Ruinos became fugitives from a lifetime of hardship, slavery, and cruelty. Now they were dispersed among the populace, unidentifiable because of their shape-shifting abilities. Forms they were locked into during the day, but not at night. Not while under the light of the moon.
Tiron had found sanctuary in Crescent City as "Roni". But circumstances and her own self-hatred beaten into her by her imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Arra had her earning her living as a common street prostitute. She despised herself and everything she did to survive, knowing she would be spending the rest of her life in misery.
Lt. Thom DeGrassi worked vice for the police department. He had busted prostitutes in the past, but eight years on the force had never prepared him for what he felt when he met Roni. Not only was it impossible, but it went against everything he believed.
To make matters worse, there was some sicko out there getting his jollies cutting up hookers. Now DeGrassi was faced with two impossible situations—keeping Roni off the streets while he sorted out his feelings for this woman, and trying to find the man responsible for the deaths of four other women.
Excerpt: (adult content)
The light switch wasn’t too difficult to find. He kept his eyes closed for several long moments after flipping the switch, then gradually opened them until he could see.
He was right. The bed was made. But over against the corner sat a narrow chair with a tufted seat. Black garments lay over it, tossed there randomly. DeGrassi walked over and picked one up. It was the black leather vest Roni had worn that day. In that instant, a sense of immense relief washed over him. In the next, he wondered if she had any more of those black-leather thingies.
The closet was within arm’s reach. He opened the bi-fold doors.
The thing was filled with Jekyll and Hyde. One side of the closet held a profusion of color. A rainbow of clothing, ranging from powder blue to brilliant red, pale yellow to green, made up the left side of the small space. Dresses, blouses, pants...DeGrassi held up the sleeve of one blouse in a leafy green. The tags were still on it. In fact, most of the clothing on that side was still tagged. He recognized the name of the department store. It was good quality without the exorbitant price.
The other side of the closet held what he thought of as her hooker wear. All of it was black—bustiers and more pants. Vests. Some sheer things that laced up. All kinds of kinky wear in satin, and fur, and velveteen, and leather. He saw rhinestones and black lace, not to mention a piece that looked like it was made of alligator.
This was crazy. She had bought all this pretty stuff but never worn it. Looking at a long, soft skirt in butter yellow, DeGrassi began to see a side of the woman he had suspected existed. Four years on the street had not made her callous. That part of Roni continued to exist inside her. The part that hid from the sun.
Yeah. DeGrassi smiled. That was exactly what she was like. She hid her true self from the sun, from the bright, hopeful, uplifting side of life. The clothes, this house. She was never here during the day. That’s when she went on the streets, to separate the person she wanted to be from the person she had no choice but to be. She never wore these clothes because they would reveal that part of herself that was too vulnerable.
But the dark clothes were like a disguise. Anything that would reveal her softer side was kept hidden. She hooked as far away from her home, her sanctuary, as she could so that that part of her life would never intrude upon it.
And the plants. DeGrassi glanced around the room. Sweet heavens, the place would rival any nursery.
His eyes settled once again on the made bed. A made bed. Visions of his own never-made bed came to him. He bet that if he went into the tiny kitchen, there wouldn’t be a single dirty dish in the sink. And the fridge would have food in it.
"Roni, dammit, where the hell are you?" he growled.
His eyes lit on the small bureau. On top was a hand mirror and a brush. A brush. Grabbing the brush, he examined the strands of dark hair caught in between the bristles. Unconsciously, he held the brush to his nose and inhaled.
There. It was there. The sweet scent of maple syrup.
And then it hit him—what his mind had been trying to tell him all this time. The body. The victim. There had been no scent of her when he’d viewed the remains. None. Yet he knew that he had been able to detect her scent even when she had sat in that chair next to his desk, and that was...what? Two, three feet away from where he’d sat?
He took another whiff of the brush. Her smell still clung to the fine strands, which meant he should have smelled her when he’d lifted the tarp. But the smell had not been there. The victim wasn’t Roni. He would swear to it. The DNA on the hair follicles would prove it wasn’t her. Going into the bathroom, he grabbed a hand towel from the bar to wrap the brush in and left it on top of the dresser.
So where on Earth was she?
Maybe she went to spend the night with a friend.
He started. A boyfriend? No, asshole. One of her girlfriends. Maybe one of those two who worked with her.
But what if it was a boyfriend?
DeGrassi caught himself grinding his teeth at the thought. What kind of man would put up with a woman who had been selling her body all day? He refused to listen to the little voice inside his head—the one that kept prodding him, asking why should he care.
Without his realizing it, his eyes drifted back to the black garments lying on the chair. Taking a mental step back, he slid on his police persona and scoured the room. There was absolutely nothing in the place that even indicated she had a significant other. There were no personal photos, no pictures except for the framed paintings and posters of trees and forest landscapes hanging on the walls. No mementoes. No cutesy stuffed animals. Nothing.
In fact, the place seemed unusually barren of personal effects.
"RONI!" he suddenly bellowed. Pivoting on his heel, DeGrassi strode out into the living room and barreled into the kitchen. Just as he had suspected, the sink was gleaming white. There weren’t even any dishes drying on the counter top. He jerked open the refrigerator door to see all sorts of vegetables and salad stuff sitting on the shelves. A half bottle of orange juice was the only drinkable thing he could see. Angrily, he closed the fridge and walked back into the living room.
After another quick glance around, he re-entered the bedroom, grabbed the wrapped brush, and exited the cottage the same way he had come in, through the window. However, he pulled down the sash until it was nearly closed. She might have left it up for a reason, but he would feel better knowing it wasn’t so blatantly open and inviting.
Roni wasn’t here, but the voice still screaming inside his head told him the Cutter’s latest victim wasn’t her. The brush would provide the evidence needed to prove it. He would take it over to the lab tonight, and later today they would run their tests on it.
Giving the house one last look, DeGrassi pulled the car out of the driveway and headed downtown. Soon, he promised himself. He would find out where she was, and soon. Or else he would come back and sit down on that big comfy couch and wait for her if he had to. He didn’t care how long it took.
Strangely, the idea seemed very appealing.
Runner’s Moon: Tiron
(Book 2 of the "Runner’s Moon" series.)
An erotic sci-fi romance novel
by Linda Mooney
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
Genre: sci-fi erotic romance
Heat rating: sensuous/explicit
Buy Link: http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=248
On Fictionwise: http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook55858.htm
Readers' Choice #1 Torrid Bestseller Of The Month