I know I’ve used this image before, but I love it. A stack of books reaching high into the sky and mixing into the scenery, weaving stories. I mean, really, for lovers of the written word, what isn’t there to love about it?
The loss of bookstores makes me sad. The lack of a variety of bookstores makes me sad when I used to spend hours and hours and hours combing the shelves, grabbing a stack, sitting in comfy chairs, and flipping through pages, then often taking most of my stack to the cashier, and walking with new worlds and ideas to explore, words to get lost in.
What’s brought on my sudden melancholy for bookstores, my pining for the good old days?
A trip to Barnes and Noble.
A couple of days after Christmas, I went out looking for a journal. I haven’t found ‘the one’ yet, but I will.
I walked in to the two story building and at once, fell madly in love again, and felt my heart break.
Books were my escape growing up. They were my journey into understanding life and ultimately pieces and parts of myself.
I loved browsing in bookstores, going to the book section in any store. My three favorite places to go as a teen were the book store, the music store, and the pizza place. One day I’m going to go on a lament about how much I miss music stores, too.
But in Barnes and Noble the other day, I looked and looked at the journals and notebooks. I picked them up. I touched them. I put them down. I wandered through the coloring books and the bargain books. Then, I wandered upstairs to the fiction section and the children’s books. I didn’t go through them. I simply walked along the perimeter. I know my face showed my longing. I know my eyes spoke of my sadness and my elation. The store was packed. It was busy and it was alive. People were buying books… a lot of books!
The Starbucks was busy, too, but more than that, people were looking and flipping through pages while sipping coffee or cocoa or noshing on a piece of cake.
My son doesn’t have an affinity for reading more than the sports pages.
My daughter doesn’t have an affinity for reading any more, either.
But me? I never grew out of it. It’s a temptation and a love affair I’ll never tire of…
There are 4 or 5 Barnes and Noble stores left in the greater Charlotte area.
There are a couple of Books-A-Million stores, but they never held for the wonder that Barnes and Noble always has. There was something about walking into one and just… Wanting to live there among the stories.
There are used bookstores and libraries. But there’s something about new books with spines never cracked or folded over, with new pages and freshly unpacked, new ink smells.
There are two local bookstores as well that sell new books (neither of which have a romance section at all). But they are loved. They are small, pigeon hole size shops. They serve their communities well. But when I lived in Florida, there was a local bookstore I used to visit all the time. They had a romance section to rival any larger bookstore. I would spend a lot of money and a lot of time sitting on their stools, reading.
I love a discount as much as anyone. I love a good deal on anything. But there’s something about paying full price in a bookstore for a book you’ve been longing for, that you’ve been waiting months, or longer for, that makes my heart ache.
I miss bookstores. I miss Barnes and Noble being everywhere. I miss Borders. I miss Waldenbooks. I miss walking in empty and walking out full of endless possibility.
Something profound has been lost with brick and mortar stores that you can’t replace with online ones. In this business of publishing, we try. And in this world, we love convenience and right now and 1-Click shopping. I love it just as much as the next guy.
Something is missing, though. For me, that something, is wonder.
One of my goals this coming year is to visit Barnes and Noble and the two local shops more often. Much more often. They’re all out of my way. I don’t venture into those parts of town very often. But I am going to make an effort to do so because I miss bookstores.
I’m a little late today and I apologize. I did however make some homemade bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwiches for brunch so…
Snippet Saturday is sad today, as well. It is our last Snippet Saturday as a collected group. It was started by Lauren Dane and I know all the authors who’ve participated over the years appreciate all the hard work she’s put into it. And I know we authors appreciate all the readers who’ve given us time on Saturday’s.
For myself, I will continue to post snippets and excerpts here on my blog under the heading of Temptation Tuesday.
As the subject heading states, today is Author’s Choice…
Windows in her pickup rolled down, and her stereo blaring with the latest Miranda Lambert album, Chrissie couldn’t wait to spend a little time alone. She needed some space, some time to think. It would probably be a good idea to call Colt, to let him know that she was all right, but after months of depending on herself in a time of need…
Calling her mother was out of the question too. She’d have expected Chrissie to smile and ask how Russ was doing instead of running down the hall like her ass was on fire. She’d have expected Chrissie to wish him all the happiness in the world and for her knees not to shake and her palms not to sweat.
Chrissie’s mother was the soul of genteel Southern upbringing, and though she’d tried to raise her only daughter to be the same, the lessons just hadn’t taken.
Lost in thought as she was, sucking down the sweet, thick chocolate ice cream, and singing along to the songs, her house seemed to appear out of nowhere. It wasn’t good to drive by rote on the curvy country roads, but she had a hard time keeping herself focused. Luckily, she was between schools letting out and people getting off work, so traffic was light. The biggest hazard she might have come up against was a squirrel or two.
The vase of flowers on the front porch surprised her, but the man who pulled up and parked behind her before she was out of her car was the shock.
“Russ?” To say she was caught unawares would not be much of an understatement. She hadn’t noticed him or anyone following her, a testament to just how deep inside her own head she was. “Twice in one day. Dare I ask why?”
He smiled that charming smile she once knew so well, and as he came close, she could see the uncertainty lurking in his eyes. She felt nothing. Not the old twinge of anticipation. Not the thrill she used to get when he’d show up unannounced. Not a thing. Well, okay, some sadness perhaps, a bit of regret. But even those were in very small amounts.
How could seeing someone she once loved and was prepared to marry make her feel nothing?
Whereas his brother Colt made her feel something. Something deep and wonderful. He made her feel…everything. All at once. She could be herself with him and she never tried to impress him, like she’d done with Russ. Colt had seen her at her worst, and he’d seen her at her best. Everything else was the gravy in between.
“They…” She nodded. “They are. Thank you.”
“Probably.” She edged around him and headed toward the house, the vase of flowers in her hand. “What are you doing here?” she asked as she walked.
“I honestly don’t know. After this morning, I wanted to see you, talk to you. I wanted to see if…” He pursed his lips and looked away, out toward the trees at the edge of the property.
She didn’t need him to finish his thought. “After all these months?” Chrissie unlocked the door and stepped inside. Russ followed her, taking one tentative step after another.
She was attuned to uncertainty and wariness. She’d been hunting. She knew what it was to walk through the woods and not make a sound. She knew what it was to smell another hunter’s scent and not want to encroach on his territory. Russ had it written all over him in the way he moved, careful and cautious. Maybe he thought she would shoot him…
She set the vase in the kitchen window. The red, yellow, and orange-colored roses lit the room up in a way that was different than simply the sun shining in. They were brilliant and so full of life. She loved them immediately. She loved that Colt thought enough of her to send them, and even though there was no card, she knew in her gut they were from him. She loved him for it, for the night before, for the morning tease, for wanting her.
She loved him.
“When I saw you this morning with Colt, I… Christina, please look at me.”
He was the only person other than her mother who’d ever called her Christina. She was sure that should have told her something a long time ago, only it wasn’t until now that she’d realized it.
Then again, she’d just put it together that she was in love with her ex’s brother. She turned to Russ with that sentiment front and center in her brain. She didn’t know how to look at Russ and not wince at the mere idea that Colt meant more to her than just a one-night thing. But then, how could she love him? She’d spent one night with him, sharing stories and making love. They hadn’t even talked for any length of time before that, unless she counted the day after when he came to check on her. Then there was his admission that he’d been calling her father every once in a while to make sure she was all right. Those things touched her in ways nothing ever had with Russ. He really had done her a favor by skipping out on her.
Someone—Colt—cared about her. Just her. Not money. Not connections. Not for whatever reason Russ might have thought he cared about her.
Colt didn’t have to do any of the things he’d done, however small and insignificant they may seem to others. To her, they were everything.
Maybe she had meant that she should have married him instead. Maybe she had meant, been admitting without actually saying the words out loud, that Russ had never been the right man for her.
Romance between them hadn’t been instantaneous or earth-shattering. They’d seemed to fit and liked each other well enough, spent time together, and love grew into it, only… Was it really love?
Her mother would have said that whatever it was, love or not, was better than what most people had ever found with someone else. Would Chrissie have really believed that? Would Russ?
If so and if they had married, somewhere down the road…
“What?”She shook herself out of her thoughts. “Sorry. What did you want to say?”
“My brother seems to have worn you out.” He said it with a small smile, and there was no hint of malice in his eyes or his tone of voice. Chrissie knew she should have felt bad, but she didn’t. Russ made his choice. Colt had made his. And now it was her turn to make hers.
“Yes, he did.”
“Good.” He shifted his stance but he didn’t look away from her. “I want to apologize. No, that’s not right. I need to apologize for what happened.”
“You mean, leaving me at the altar?”
“Yes.” He drew himself up. “For leaving you at the altar.”
“It was a bit Cowardly Lion, Russ. For a man who can talk to courtrooms full of people, become best pals with attendees at a party, you were cowardly in how you handled me.” She wasn’t interested in embarrassing him or humiliating him or making him feel any worse that he had probably already felt. It was about moving forward and cleaning the slate, so to speak.
“You’re right, it was,” he admitted. “I can’t explain. I tried, with Colt this morning, but I—“
“I don’t need one, Russ. Maybe some women would, but not me.”
“Most women would.”
Chrissie smiled. A full, real smile. “I think we’ve all established that I am not most women.”
“Yes, we have.” Russ cleared his throat after a few minutes. “I, ah… Even though I’m glad you and Colt seem to have found each other out of this whole thing, I was jealous when I saw you with him this morning.”
“Jealous? Really, Russ. That doesn’t sound like you at all.”
“I know, yet it’s true. My brother in a hotel room with my ex. It was the first time I’d seen you since the night before we were supposed to get married. I was… It was unexpected. A lot of old feelings came rushing back, and I wondered briefly if—”
“If they were still real? If you still loved me?”
“Yes,” he said with relief evident in his voice. “Something like that.”
Chrissie stared hard at him. She didn’t want to hurt him with what she had to say, but she knew the words might. Whatever fantasies she might have had about hurting him, harming him in the days immediately following the jilting, she never meant any of it. She never really wanted him to feel the things she’d felt. “I don’t have feelings for you, Russ. Not anymore. Not like that. I think I could be your friend without issue, but that’s all.” She felt helpless and emotional. She’d imagined this conversation going so many different ways, and in all of them, he ended up dead or gutted like a fish or pierced through the heart and penis with arrows. Then again, that’s how she’d had to get through it, deal with it. This emotional-freeing feeling was better than any of her imagined outcomes. “When I was trying to get over you, I shot. I spent hours outside shooting. I went through so many boxes of ammunition. Each one had a word written across the top. Not very nice words, but they served the purpose I needed them to at the time. I bought enough ammunition, enough arrows for my quivers that I was offered a job at the local gun store. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I started getting over you. I could never have been what you wanted me to be. I wasn’t the feminine, gush-over, talk-up-her-man kind of woman we all, including me, tried to make me believe I was, but in the end…” She shook her head. “You did us both a favor, Russ. And we should both be able to admit that. You hurt my pride, you humiliated me, you even broke my heart to some extent. I’ve never hurt like that, and I don’t want to hurt like that ever again.”
Buy Links: All Romance eBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Loose-Id
Enjoy the final snippets from the following blogs…
Thank you for your devotion every Saturday.
I have never had a book nominated for an award before. This is exciting for me. This is awesome for me. I was completely shocked and surprised and in awe. You know when people say they were honored just to be nominated? Yeah, it’s a real feeling. I’m my first, last, hardest, and worst critic. I always see where I could have done better, where I could have written something smoother, hotter, sexier, deeper. I always see the imperfection of what I’ve created. But that there were people who thought the two stories nominated were worth it… Yeah, for me, it is a definite honor and very humbling.
Here’s the link to the full list of nominees in all categories: Authors After Dark: 2013 Bookie Award Nominees. The actual voting for the winners opens on November 1.
Committed: An Erotic Valentine’s Tale was nominated for Erotic Short Story of the Year
Melting Jane was nominated for Ebook Only Short Story of the Year
I am still like WOW!
Committed: An Erotic Valentine’s Tale is available for free all the time HERE on my website in PDF form, as well as on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance eBooks. Please download a copy…
Melting Jane is going to be on sale both in honor of the Bookie Award Nomination and as part of a fun two week sale organized by my friend Skye Warren.There are several wonderful authors participating and I’ve read most of them, love them, too. You can click on the graphic and it’ll take you directly to the sale page…
The normal price for Melting Jane is $2.99 but it’ll be on sale for $0.99 from now until November 14th on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance eBooks. If you haven’t read this book, now is your chance…
Graham Hall is a twenty-six year old Texan with the job of his dreams: being a freelance travel writer for a national publication. He’s just finished his latest article about small winter resort destinations in Colorado and has earned some personal down time. With the six month lease not yet up on the small cabin he rented, Graham decides to stick around the area for a while and in the process, finds himself agreeing to a blind date with a feisty, down on her luck in the love department, candy maker named Jane.
After all, what could it hurt?
Jane, completely oblivious to the set up, arrives at Graham’s isolated little valley cabin to deliver a box of her handmade Chocolate Kick truffles. From the moment Graham opens the door, Jane is tongue tied and ticked off. Edward, her business partner and most certainly former best friend, set her up. When she regains her ability to put two coherent words together, plus size, mid-thirties Jane apologizes for intruding and assures Graham that she will take care of the mistake.
What ensues is a series of encounters and confrontations between Jane and Edward, Jane and Graham, and Edward and Graham. At the heart of it all, is Jane’s happiness. Edward wants this for her more than anything. Graham finds himself caught up in her tart tongue and curvy body and isn’t about to call his all too real pursuit a failure, no matter how many times she says no.
With her inability to continue denying herself the man she affectionately refers to as Cowboy Surfer in her head, she gives in and is rewarded with scorching hot sex and a lot of follow-up phone calls after she learns the truth of Graham’s attraction. His persistence leads Jane to believe that life doesn’t have to revolve around chocolate truffles, but rather should revolve around a delicious, well traveled and well built younger man.
**This book was previously published and titled as Sugar Rush. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release.**
I have some awesome readers and I am more grateful to you than I can say for allowing me into your lives through my books. You give me the opportunity to earn a living doing something I love. Thank you…
Thank you all so much for participating and much thanks to Reading Between the Wines Book Club and As the Pages Turn for putting the blog hop and giveaway together!
The winners for my giveaway of the hop are:
$15 Amazon Gift Card and any one of my backlist titles: Danielle
$10 Barnes and Noble or Amazon Gift Card and any one ebook of your choice (up to $10): Anna Cade
$10 Starbucks Gift Card: Pam S.
Congrats to all of you and thank you all for participating.
My Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop is hosted by Reading Between the Wines Book Club & As the Pages Turn Giveaway. The hop will run from 12:01 AM February 1st through to 11:59 PM February 5th, 2012.
What better way to celebrate the month of LOVE than with your favorite book boyfriend? Whether you have a valentine or not, the swoon worthy heroes we find in romances can’t be matched anyway! So why not put on those naughty underwear and curl up with one of these steamy reads this year instead? Make your Valentine’s Day perfect by joining the My Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop where fellow bloggers offer you the chance to win some of their favorite book boyfriends!
So, who are my book boyfriends? When I think of all the books I’ve read over the years, and we’re talking over 15 years of romance reading, it’s so hard to narrow it down. There are just so many to choose from. However, those who first come to mind:
Jack from Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas
Lord John Blackwood from Dancing At Midnight by Julia Quinn
Morgan MacDonnell from Whisper of Roses by Teresa Medeiros
Dermott Ramsey, Earl of Bathurst from Temporary Mistress by Susan Johnson
Earl of Wick from Her Lord and Master by Thea Devine
Jeremy Gray from Comfort Object by Annabel Joseph
Zsadist from Lover Awakened by JR Ward
All of the Cowboys that Delilah Devlin writes… 😉
These are just a few and I couldn’t begin to go back and list all of my favorites. We’d be here all day. In lists like these, I always feel as though I’m missing someone important… 😉 Which, they all are, yes?
In other words… I. Want. Them. All.
As for what I’m going to be giving away:
1 $15 Gift Card to Amazon.com and one copy of any of my backlist. (US Only)
1 $10 Gift Card to BarnesAndNoble.com and an ebook copy of any ebook of your choice (up to $10) (US Only)
1 $10 Gift Card to Starbuck (US Only)
All you have to do to enter is follow my blog via Networked Blogs (link over on the sidebar) or Like my Facebook Fan Page (click on the Facebook coffee up on the sidebar or click here.) Then leave me a comment here on the blog letting me know you’ve done so along with the name of your favorite book boyfriend and email address.