Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Book News


MJ Fredrick

Buy link:
Your link/Publisher Link

Their passion rivals the fires they battle. Peyton Michaels expected her assignment to be simple-write an article about everyday heroes. Heroes like Hot Shot firefighter Gabe Cooper. She never expected to find herself running up a mountain, a wildfire nipping at her heels, her life in his hands. And she never expected to be drawn to Gabe. After the loss of her husband in the line of duty, the last thing she wants is to fall in love with yet another man who routinely puts his life at risk. Gabe has had enough of women who want to make him into someone he's not. Women like his ex, who couldn't handle the heat of his job. Like Peyton, who sees him as a hero when he's just a man doing a job. Except time after time, the pesky reporter proves her mettle. And gets deeper under his skin. But there's an arsonist at work, and danger is closing in with the speed of a raging brush fire. Peyton and Gabe have to dig deep for what it takes to be a real hero-to find the courage to reach out and grab a forever kind of love. Before it's too late.


Fallen Angels Review gave it a Recommended Read and said:

My opinion of Hot Shot by M.J. Fredrick can be summed up in three words: GET THIS BOOK!!! Is it obvious I loved it? She had me sucked in from the first page and it wasn't until my eyes watered did I put the book down. It was 4am! I'd gone to bed at 9pm planning to read for about one hour; didn't happen and if it wasn't for the fact that my leaky eyes threatened to short circuit my e-book reader I'd have kept going. Ms. Fredrick delivers a romantic suspense that will knock your socks off. With her vivid description of the raging wildfire and her in-depth, complex characters she weaves a story of courage, determination, sacrifice, dedication and love that will live in my memory, and on my keeper shelf, forever. Peyton is gutsy but vulnerable and I enjoyed watching her grow to understand herself more as each page turned. Gabe had me in lust and a little in love from the second he hit the page. Should I mention a bit of a weakness for firemen? But what got me most about this book was the way it played in my head like a movie; it was there in full color, and all with just the flick of a page. I can't recommend Hot Shot enough and if you happen to come across this or any other book with Ms. Fredrick's name on it don't hesitate, pick it up and take to the register, then race home and lock the doors because if Hot Shot is anything to go by you won't be coming up for air until the end.

Hot Shot was Joyfully Recommended and Tanya said:

MJ Frederick is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and Hot Shot is one of the reasons why.  She takes you into the lives of those daredevil men and women who fight forest fires, and not just the glamorized smoke jumpers, but the ground crews.  Ms. Frederick has written the scenes in such a way I am drawn into the story and can imagine the crackling and heat of the fire, and not just between the main characters.  There are also a lot of twists and turns in the plot, which will keep you on your toes.  I am pleased to be able to Joyfully Recommend Hot Shot as a July Recommended Read, especially with the summer fire season underway.

The Romance Studio gave it 5 Hearts and wrote:

Hot Shot is a brilliant romantic suspense with a realistic look at the men and women who risk their lives fighting wildfires every year. I was enthralled from the first page and hated to be interrupted for anything while reading this story! I loved the characters of Peyton and Gabe who are extremely stubborn, intelligent, hard working, honorable, and hurt from previous relationships. Of course, they are instantly attracted to one another and fight against the attraction. I also really enjoyed reading about what it can be like battling a wildfire. The horrors of what being in the middle of a fire is really like, the risk, the challenge, and the adrenaline rush when they make it back. And the story also has a mystery that Peyton and Gabe will have to figure out before they are killed from the mischief of a fire starter; this fire isn't an accident. There are so many aspects of what I love in a good story in this one book. This is one of the best books I've read this year and I can't wait to see what else Ms. Fredrick has written! I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves romantic suspense, adventure, heroes, and strong determined characters.

You Gotta Read reviews wrote:

Ms. Fredrick writes a story with such precise detail that the reader feels like they have received a small course in firefighting. The procedures that are involved in containing and fighting wild fires are well-researched and thoroughly described. The love-hate relationship that develops between the two main characters of Peyton and Gabe is timed perfectly. There is ample time for the couple to get to know one another and build up into the realization of their feelings that have far surpassed their expectations. Add in possible arson and loss of life and you have a suspense-filled, power-packed story that is a fantastic way to spend the weekend. I had not read this author's work before, and was immensely glad I did.

Romance Reviews Today wrote:

Ms. Fredrick has done an excellent job writing a suspenseful tale centered around a wildfire in Montana. The fire becomes a secondary character worthy of mention. It is given human characteristics reminiscent of a murderer and a stalker. It is intelligent in a way that only the unknown can be. The fire is key to the story. Without it you have no setting, action, or way for Peyton and Gabe to be thrown together. The fire is not the only thing that burns in HOT SHOT. The romance between Gabe and Peyton progresses at an even pace; their relationship starts with resentment, moves on to grudging respect, and finally blossoms into love. It is a relationship to root for and one worthy of the two great characters Ms. Fredrick introduces to us. HOT SHOT is an engaging and emotional story that will have you wanting more from M. J. Fredrick.

The Long and the Short of It gave it 5 Books and said:

MJ.. Frederick knows how to build up suspense with the skill of a seasoned storyteller, even though Hot Shot is only her second published book. The reader cheers for the main characters from the first lines, and the tension between them doesn't abate until the end. Nor is it forced: the author creates a solid background for the characters with enough baggage to keep them apart emotionally throughout the story.

The wildfire at the center of the plot is itself a powerful character. If I didn't know better, I would've sworn that MJ was a firefighter who's experienced forest fires in the mountains. Her research is solid and believable, and doesn't stop at the edge of the burned land. She manages to demonstrate in quick, sharp portraits of minor characters how the fire season affects all the area's inhabitants.

Nor are her antagonists flat and uninteresting. They're worthy opponents for Peyton and Gabe, and... I'll let you discover them for yourselves. Hot Shot reads like a romantic suspense, but is built like a mystery, with clues laid out from the beginning, and bright-red herrings scattered along the way.

This is definitely a must-read. And a re-read. It was a pleasure to discover and it goes straight to my keeper shelf.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Book Reviews


With her voluptuous, plus-size figure, Angela Krizova knows she doesn't fit the male fantasy of the perfect woman. That's fine, because Bryan Perry isn't her idea of the ideal man, either. The gorgeous ski-bum-turned-corporate-exec is just the type she avoids like the plague.

Except he won't take no for an answer. With Bryan pursuing her as if she's the most desirable woman in Crested Butte, Angela's starting to believe it just a little herself. Is the most irresistible guy in town really falling for her? Or is he the man most likely to break her heart?


It's not often I review a Harlequin line book, only because there's SO MANY of the them, which is a good and bad thing. Good because there's always something to read, bad because there are so many of them. Can't do them all.

So why do this one?

It's the first plus-sized heroine that I can recall reading.

Angela is a great girl with a wounded heart, hiding from a relationship disaster--being stood up at the altar. She's not doing an impression of a hippopotumas, just a very svelte size 16. Honestly, I was very happy to see a realistic heroine. (When I met I my DH I was a size 16 and I was HAWT, tyvm). She's spirited, in a comfort zone though and Bryan pulls her right out of it.

Insecurities abound as can be expected when surrounded by the 'beautiful people' of the story. I really liked Bryan though. I wish more guys could let the stereotype yoke of "double digits is fat" go. Of course, he didn't see anything but her size when he first saw her either, but realized what and who she was in spite of the size she wore. The girls, were girls. Catty because they'd lost a major player. The whole story was very true to life and I was very happy to see them with a happy ending.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Small update

Man, I'm tired. We're house hunting, went all over yesterday, went back to one today, another tomorrow. And tomorrow is shopping day. All I want to do is sleep. The man is on vacation this week so at least he's bbq-ing. I don't have to cook! Yay! Not getting much writing done, but I kind of figured as much. *sigh* I just want to finish the vamp book, but it's gone into mental storage for the moment.

I'll have some more news in the next few days for DeRicci. Are you hooked up to my alter-ego's blog? You should be to make sure you get all the details. I don't promote my DeRicci writing on this blog, so if you want the total package, just RSS the DeRicci blog. Pop on over to here -> and check it out.

So for now, I'm going to take some IBU and pretend I'm writing... LOL


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This Week: In Diana's Head

ist1_6135370-heart-in-the-brain It's the last week of school here. Can you hear me groaning? I am. LOUDLY.  Summer is only days away for the child. My goal? To finish the second vampire book before he's out. Writing during the summer will be a bit more sporadic, so I'd like to get one new WIP done before that point.

What's new on the front? Not a lot. I added an events calendar listing to my blog and Myspace. If you're interested in joining me at a signing or other event, just scope out the list. There's also a full detail calendar page on my website.

I'm really excited about the coming release of my Aiza Clan Shifter Series book. I can't wait to get it out to the masses. I can cheat just a little. I already have a copy. Yeah, I'm evil that way. *bg* But it looks so sharp! It's a gorgeous book.

Also if you're going to be attending the Authors After Dark Paranormal Weekend, I'll be donating a basket full of goodies to be raffled off! All the proceeds of the raffle go to the Rolling Dog Ranch animal sanctuary. Believe me, it's a worthy cause to pitch in a buck. And you're going to get some awesome surprises for that buck. There will be several baskets from quite a few of the authors and publishers. Lots of fun stuff, swag and signed books. If you haven't checked it out, stop by the site: The attending author list is growing!

Let's see... Edits are almost done on Crowning A Warrior King. Should be an E release in June and print by mid-August. At worst, July/September. Another yummy book and cover. Then we'll have more on the shifters. Woot! I hope you guys are enjoying their stories. I really, thoroughly enjoyed, writing those guys. Can't wait to send Morgan out into the world. Just wait... You'll see.

Okay, that's it for this week. Have a great one!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Book News





Ru-Noc: A magical world teetering on the edge of destruction.
Excited about her first Beltane, the feisty and strong-willed Princess of Ru-Noc makes plans to find her ideal mate. But Princess Kali’s world is turned upside down when finds herself whisked away and trapped in the mortal realm of vampires.
Captain Koran T knows he’s in serious trouble when the King of Ru-Noc orders him to kidnap Princess Kali. He’s no different than any other male of his species at mating time, so the urge to breed Kali is strong. But Koran T has a dark secret of his own, one that could have him banished from the coven.
Fall under the spell of a Witch’s Moon—when dark forces gather to threaten the very existence of Ru-Noc—and Princess Kali and Captain Koran cross swords in a fierce battle only a witch can win!


Koran sighed. It had been a stupid, risky thing to do. He should never have allowed it to happen. But the temptation to teach her a lesson had overridden the need to handle her with care. When he’d realized she was outside his window watching him wash off, he’d intended to teach her a lesson by linking their minds. Only—

Only it had all gone so wrong.

He hadn’t expected to discover she wanted him as much as he wanted her. Once their minds were linked, Kali had no secrets left. He was stunned to learn her secret desires. He was able to hide his thoughts, his desire, but he raped her of hers and he raped her body, mentally. He’d given her everything she wanted from him.

Koran closed his eyes and rubbed a hand down his face. He didn’t know which of them it hurt the worse. When it was over, physically, they were both satisfied, but the link had only made them both more aware of the other. There were no secrets left about their bodies. He knew her body intimately, just as she knew his. He’d come so damned hard, he thought the head of his cock was going to explode.

When he broke the link, their eyes met. She looked utterly devastated. Tears welled in her eyes. She whirled and ran away, as fast as she could run. He hadn’t tried to stop her. He hadn’t dared.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Look what came today! It's here! OMG! It's so pretty!

<-- Available June 15th! *pops Champagne*
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PNR Takes Notice of the Aiza Clan Shifter Series!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This Week: In Diana's Head


Today's plan: Kick out the man and the boy (It's legit! School and work! I swear. *EG*) Quick run to the store then back home to write. I did a paltry 800 all day yesterday. Not happy with myself. I have 12K to hit the projected, and I know it's going to go over. So I'll be IV'd to the coffee pot/soda shelf and Will Not Cry Defeat!
**Okay, now where did I leave my mind. I just had it. I know I did.**

That being said, Aiza Clan Shifter Series combo book is now online! Woohooo!! I'm not sure when it will go live for pre-order, but it will be available for purchase on June 15th, as promised. It looks so purty! *pets the monitor*

It's here --->

More soon!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Book News





Romance and Dark Places

I find it fitting that I am able to do this post as a guest on Diana’s site, Romance that thrives in dark places. Especially given the nature of my latest book, Dark Immortal, and the fact that the heroine of this book is named “Diana”.

Now, while both of these things are purely coincidental, it got me to thinking about the dark hero. Why is it that we are drawn to them—to these tortured, brooding, angry men?

I think there is something seductive about a hero who has a sordid past, who struggles with a baser, darker part of himself. There’s a thrill that comes with being involved with someone who’s not At the same time, I think that it’s important for his motivations to be understandable. A bad boy who’s nasty and cruel just for the sake of it, isn’t going to get sympathy from anyone. But a man who’s angry and defensive for a reason, and who can find it in himself to work through that and still be an honourable and decent man—well that’s someone you want to hang onto.

In my book, Dark Immortal, Diana and Alric have been together ever since she rescued him from 100 years of isolation and imprisonment in a very dark place. But that experience changed him, and now Alric struggles every day to control the beast that was born in him as a result of that torture and pain—a struggle that becomes even more difficult when he almost loses Diana in an attack that takes her memory from her so that she doesn’t remember him, or the life they’ve built together.


How do you know the woman of your dreams would still love you if all the circumstances which brought you together no longer existed? How do you know she would still want you if the memory of your love was wiped away and the only thing left was fear and pain? How could you ask her to stay if all she could see was the monster inside of you, the monster that gets harder and harder to contain?

After one hundred years of torture, trapped underground in darkness and isolation, Alric was visited by an angel. Diana. Beautiful. Strong. Brave. She released him from his prison and saved him from the insanity of his own mind, offering him the kind of love only a fool would ever deny.

But when a vampire’s attack leaves Diana broken and comatose, locked deep inside of herself where Alric can’t reach her, he blames himself for failing to protect her. He can only hope that giving her time to heal will eventually bring her back to him...but it seems that time is not on their side.

Excerpt © Dark Immortal, by J.K. Coi

Alric lifted a hand to her face, lightly trailing a curled finger down her cheek. Callused and rough, but warm on her skin.

She started, her gaze jerking back up to his. His hand was too large, like the rest of him. She knew very well there was little she could do if he decided to use that size and strength against her. And so did he.

It scared the crap out of her, but even so, she didn’t pull back from him.

He touched her with such gentle care, almost trepidation. As if he were more afraid of her, of what she might do, than she was of him. Curiosity rode her. If by some fantastical twist of fate this man was telling her the truth, then she would know from his kiss.

Won’t I?

More to the point, if he kissed her and she felt nothing, then they would both know it. She would be able to put aside the ridiculous uncertainty that continued to torment her once and for all, and maybe he would even let her go.

His gaze shifted to her mouth before he closed the distance. His lips were warm, firm...but light against hers. He was giving her all the time in the world to reject his touch and pull away. When she didn’t do so immediately, he groaned and leaned in closer. There was nothing demanding in his kiss, and yet she felt as if she were being marked, as if this one kiss could break down all of her walls and leave her shivering and vulnerable.

“Diana.” He murmured her name as if it were made to be uttered in his deep voice, his breath stealing between her slightly parted lips. He curved his hand around the back of her head, holding her to him with the gentlest of tethers and slid his tongue across her lips, changing the kiss from something soft and unthreatening, to one that hungered—and dared her to feed the hunger. Dared her to accept it. Crave it.

Oh, God.

I’d love to hear from you, and I want to say thank you to Diana Castilleja for letting me visit today.

Dark Immortal is available for download February 15, 2009:

Please sign up for my newsletter:, and visit me at my website for more information about upcoming books, chats, interviews, reviews, and all things Immortal: I’m also on MySpace: and I blog at

J.K. Coi 
Immortals to Die For

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Book Review


My Goddess, does Pea Chamberlain ever need a makeover! Her shoes, hair, clothes, makeup are all disasters, especially if she wants to attract über-sexy fireman Griffin DeAngelo at the firemen's masked ball. And who better to coax Pea out of her pod than the Goddess of Love, who she invokes when she gets her hands on a book of enchantments.
Sure enough, Venus works her magic on Pea, which is what she has been doing for eons—helping others find love. But who will help the Goddess of Love when she finds herself falling head over heels for the same sexy fireman she is trying to land for Pea? Could it be that Venus needs a love makeover herself? Check out the fireworks when the Goddess of Love unexpectedly loses her heart...


An utterly charming story!

I had my doubts because the premise was the Goddess of Love, Venus, found herself attracted to the very man her mortal charge desired.

But I can honestly say this story was not disappointing! I laughed, and I cried. I rarely vocally acknowledge humor but this one made me giggle several times. The bantering conversations and Venus herself were so lighthearted, but meaningful it was next to impossible to put this one down.

Pea Chamberlain is a woman with miserable self-esteem issues. Once the Goddess of Love is invoked to help her, it's only a matter of time before the real strength she'd been unable to encourage on her own shines through. Add in the Fire God, Vulcan, Venus's husband who sees so much of his own discordant history in the shyness of Pea, and he's smitten.

A Goddess, a God, and two mortals. Mayhem ensues. If you want a tale of real love, of real sacrifice for that love, and enough humor to warm your toes, then this is a definite recommended read.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This Week: In Diana's Head

ist1_6135370-heart-in-the-brain So after realizing on Friday that I didn't post last week, I went and did this one early so I wouldn't miss another week as it raced past my slow assed walking self. *sigh*

What's on the agenda for this week? Well, I've been cranking out some serious time on the second Vampire Book for the Shadowed Souls Series. THE ETERNAL KISS was the first. HIS REDEEMER'S KISS is next and it's been going so well, I'm just going to keep...writing. Heck, what do I have to lose? Revisions when it's done to make it all nice and pretty? *snirk* Yeah, I'm so skeerred.

Also, the print book for the Aiza Shifter series is on the final leg of its journey. It will be available at Ingrams roughly around the end of the month, so it should start showing up at online retailers in early June for Pre-Order. June 15th is the "Rock Me!" date. LOL If you've entered the most recent contests, you're still in the running for an autographed copy of this release.

One of the good things about this upcoming release is I have a list a mile long of signings and events I'll be attending through the summer, into September and October. So if you're in my neck of the woods (Central Texas) look me up. I'm also looking at a couple in November and December especially for the holidays.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering why I'd bother to have signings that late in the year. You're not the only one! LOL Okay, I had a plan. CROWNING A WARRIOR KING will be out later this year and will be in print before the end of the year! We're doing edits on it this week and they're going smashingly well.

I guess that's about all the updates I have for now. Summer break is three weeks away. I'm hoping to get as much as possible done before that hits. I can't foist the boy off on his best friend every day, but it is such a tempting idea. *evil* But I won't do it. So... Summer is coming. Hopefully, I survive it.


See you next week!

Monday, May 11, 2009

This says it all


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Book News

Published by Tease Tarot


Available at All Romance Ebooks

A Medieval castle, a woman on the edge of madness, the paranormal, obsessed scientists, mysterious events, murder, a torrid love affair and an unholy experiment. After Joseph and Amy bury their stillborn child, Amy shows symptoms of mental illness. A psychic tells her that the Hierophant means that someone will return the spirit of her dead son to earth, but another death will be involved. When Joseph learns that he has inherited a castle in Austria, they travel there At the dark and gloomy castle, they meet the supposedly dead uncle, who proposes a blasphemous experiment to bring the corpse of an infant to life. In this manner Amy is led from horror after horror which sinks her into a quagmire of death, madness and sin. And what of the young Ray Smart? Will he save Amy from the horrors that haunts her? Or will he tempt her into a forbidden love affair?

In the Tarot the purpose of the Hierophant is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck explicitly connects the Hierophant with the Ten of Swords. A dead man lies face down on a beach and is penetrated by ten swords. He has his hand in the same position of blessing as the Hierophant. Perhaps the artist believed that the path of the Hierophant ultimately leads to death; a sanctified death, but death nonetheless.


At the end of the hallway was the entrance to the tower. Amy led the way up a narrow spiral staircase. They climbed what Kraus estimated was five stories. Near the top Kraus looked out an arrow slit. Because the full moon lit up the countryside, he could see for miles around. Beyond the hills, meadows and farmland glistened the snow covered peaks of the Alps and a star studded night sky. After they climbed a few more steps, they came upon an oaken door which would not open.
"Oh damn," Kraus said. "We've worn ourselves out for nothing. The door is locked."
"I wonder who has a key."
"Probably Herman." He glanced at his watch. It was near midnight. The butler would be in bed.
"Tomorrow you must get it from him." Amy's eyes reflected a great eagerness to see what was in that room. Kraus wondered why.
As they turned to head back downstairs, Kraus heard footstep behind the door. He put his ear to the door, sure that someone was in the room beyond. He rapped loudly. The sounds from within stopped. He called out, "Whoever is in there, I hear you walking about. This is Doctor Joseph Kraus, owner of this property. Let me in, or I'll call the police." He repeated this in Austrian in case the person within did not speak English. He listened again. There was no sound. He cursed.
While he wondered what to do next, there was a click. He tried the doorknob. It turned, and the door creaked open. Whatever lie beyond was in total darkness. Kraus fumbled for a light switch. Overhead fluorescent lights came on, revealing a large room that was part library, part laboratory and part medical examining room.
He peered around for the person who had made the noise. The room was empty of human presence. There did not seem anywhere for an intruder to hide. He scratched his head. Someone had been walking about and had unlocked the door. Where could he or she have gone? There had to be another exit. He and Amy stepped into the room.
"Apparently Uncle Johann was doing scientific work. I wonder why he was so secretive about it."
While he searched for another way out of the room, Amy opened cabinets. After a while, he heard her talking. When he turned to look at her, in her hands was a large glass container. She was whispering to it. He walked over to see what she had. To his horror, it contained a dead infant preserved in alcohol. It must have died at birth, because it was completely formed and full size.
Amy turned toward him. "Look Joe, a baby. I've named him Adolph, a proper Austrian name don't you think."
"Please put that back where you got it, Amy. It's dead, like Edmund."
"But he's talking to me through telepathy. He wants to live."
He snatched the jar from her hands, put it back in the open cabinet and slammed the doors shut. "C'mon, we must get out of here. Your delusions are returning."
"But what about Adolph?" She turned toward the cabinet and gazed through the glass with longing.
"We'll come back tomorrow. You'll see things clearer in the daylight." He pulled her toward the exit. She came reluctantly. Before they left, he had a queer feeling on the back of his neck as though they were being watched.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday Book Reviews





Chicago ex-socialite Amanda Delmar's father has cut her off, and now she must do the unthinkable-work. Single father Danny Tucker hires her to babysit his daughter, not knowing that this debutante might just find a place in his heart.


A comedic take on the old adage, opposites attract. Danny Tucker is the epitome of upstanding, a farmer, reliable, solid. What some, his ex-wife, may call boring but for Amanda he's perfect.

She's the spoiled rich brat, but soon finds out what real living can do for a poor rich girl's soul.

I grinned quite a few times through this, especially at their witty reparte and conversations. There was no doubt they both had the same goal, giving Piper his daughter, a sense of stability and safety after a rather unhealthy first eight years of life. There was a line or two that seemed uncharastically "not manly" but it wasn't enough to do more than make me blink.

And the image of Mr. Broad and Handsome carrying a large designer tote and a two-pound poodle was one that will stick with me for a while.

Worth a read for a touching, funny contemporary.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday Book News


Mary Eason
Samhain Publishing

The biggest challenge to Grace’s self-imposed celibacy? Love.
As a little girl, Grace Caldwell watched her father walk out on her mother as she struggled through the final stages of breast cancer. Grace, knowing the odds that she could suffer her mother’s fate, resolves to never to let any man close enough to hurt her that way.
Her new boss, Aaron Severn, isn’t hard to figure out—his reputation with women is legendary. She’s confident it won’t be hard for her to resist his charm. To her surprise, Aaron seems sensitive and caring, the kind of man who will be there for her, no matter what. Despite her vow of self-imposed celibacy, Grace finds herself allowing their friendship to grow deeper.
When her worst nightmare becomes reality, Grace’s past fear rears its ugly head, driving her to push him away. But Aaron’s not the kind of man to give up on Grace’s love—or her life—without a fight.
Aaron left it up to me to choose where we would have dinner. I decided he needed a little authentic taste of Texas. So I took him to my favorite barbeque joint. The kind of place where they serve barbeque up by the pound on white meat market paper. Aaron wasn’t nearly as convinced as I was when I told him he would love it.
“Come on, you have to try it just once. This place is a legend around town.” Still not so sure, he took a bite of one of the well-seasoned ribs, sending sloppy barbeque sauce squirting in just about every direction. It was on his face, running down the front of his crisp, white shirt, before plopping onto the white paper. He was lucky to have taken his jacket off otherwise it would have been all over that as well. And I was almost positive I felt some of it strike my cheek.
As hard as I tried when I looked at his completely disgusted expression, I had to laugh. He was such a Yankee. Didn’t he realize you couldn’t eat ribs like that without a bib and whole lot of napkins?
“You did that on purpose didn’t you?”
“I did not. I’m sorry. How did I know you had no idea how to eat ribs? Don’t they have them in New York?” I reached for a handful of napkins, handed him several, then tucked one into his shirt. “There, you should be safe now.”
That strange expression was back on his face as he leaned over and wiped the sauce from my cheek.
“Pretty good shot, don’t you think?” He showed me the sauce he’d just wiped from my face.
“Remind me next time to sit at another table.”
“There’s not going to be a next time, so you can forget about that. You got me once. You won’t be so lucky again.”
“Well, maybe not with barbeque but there are lots of other ways, Mr. Severn. You are, after all, a foreigner here. You stand out like a sore thumb.”
At least I made him smile a little, which diminished that disturbing expression in his eyes. “Another homespun adage I take it?”
“Yep, I’m full of them.”
“I can see that. Like I said before, I think you’re going to be trouble for me. I’m not so sure I’m ready for you just yet, Miss Caldwell.” I had no idea what he meant. I was finding the best way to take him was on face value alone and not dig too deep.
Even so, I was aware of every little thing he said or did. To cover my sudden awareness, I decided to ask him some questions about himself. So far all I knew about him was that he could be impossible to deal with and he dated lots of women.
“So, your parents must be very proud of you?” Okay I never said I had a lot of tact. That probably was the least pleasant way of changing the conversation but I didn’t care. I just blurted that one out, surprising him and probably giving him whiplash at the speed of my subject change.
“Is this your way of asking me about myself? I didn’t think you cared.” He took my silence for what it was—complete annoyance at his sarcasm. “My parents passed away when I was away at the university. It’s only me in the world.”
“I’m sorry…oh, Aaron, I had no idea. That must have been…awful.”
“Yes, it was. But it was also an awfully long time ago.”
“Really? I didn’t know you were so old.”
His full attention was back on me once again. “Your way of asking how old I am?”
“I’m thirty-seven.”
“That old, huh?”
Aaron shook his head. “Okay, smart guy, what about you? How old are you?”
“You know, I’d think with all the women you’re supposed to have dated in your lifetime, you would have learned something about them by now. Don’t you know you never ask a woman her age?”
Aaron didn’t laugh. In fact, he wasn’t even smiling. “It just so happens there aren’t as many women in my past as you and everyone else in the world would like to think. And I happen to know you’re twenty-three, Grace. I was just being polite. What about your parents?”
Of course, I knew the question was coming even though I was trying my hardest to steer the conversation away from me. I hated talking about my parents because it always led to the inevitable questions about them I didn’t want to answer.
Looking into Aaron’s blue eyes I knew if I didn’t say something, and soon, he would guess the truth on his own. “My mother passed away when I was six. I haven’t seen my father since.”
I think he figured by the way I blurted those words out that it was not the time to ask a whole lot of questions on the subject.
“Where did you grow up?” The compassion in his voice threatened to crack my hard won resolve.
“With my grandparents. My mom’s parents. They have a small farm outside of Amarillo.”
“I see. That must have been hard—losing both parents so young?”
How could I tell him I couldn’t let go of the hurt? At times the pain was just as strong as it had been when I was that scared girl of six who didn’t understand her mother was dying. The little girl who cherished her father’s love only to lose it when he left us both for good.
I tried again to change the subject. “It was. But my grandparents were wonderful. I was lucky.” I pretended to look at my watch before faking surprise. “Oh geez, is that the time? I really need to go.”
Just before he agreed with me, I saw the truth. He knew. He’d seen my pain before I could hide it. It was there in the ever-so-slight-did-I-actually-imagine-it softening expression in his eyes.

  1. Rating: 78! I have a wonderful time reading Survivor because of the author’s often graceful prose. It’s why I keep reading her books, actually, since the books I’ve read by her have prose that really appeals to me… The author can easily sell me even the most fanciful or whimsical ideas when I’m really quite the cynic.

    Mrs. Giggles

  2.  4 Roses!
    I loved the whole concept of this story that shows not only true romance between the characters but that there is still that all time consuming passion that surpasses anything even a person’s fear of letting go and learning to love for the first time.

    Lena, My Book Cravings

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vote for me please!

My book, TRUSTING DELILAH, is up for an award!!

Your story "­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Trusting Delilah: Aiza Clan Book One" was reviewed by us this week and is up for Best Book honor this weekend (voting runs from Saturday,5/2, through Sunday, 5/3). 

Please vote for me this weekend! Saturday and Sunday ONLY!

Check out the review here!

Details on how and where to vote can be found here!

Diana Castilleja || Diana DeRicci
Best Selling Author

Half size