Fears. We all have them. Internal fears. Emotional. Physical. We all say we’re scared of this or that and it rarely is about anything that isn’t internal or emotional. We’re scared we’ll lose someone’s respect, or a job, or a lover, or a family member. Maybe what we’re really scared of is how we’re going to handle it and move on afterward…
Fear can keep us rooted to the spot, unable or unwilling to change, scared to fail and sometimes, scared to succeed. Fear can keep us isolated. It can move us to push those who care the most for us, away. It can be paralyzing.
Most of writing of fear in my books, if there is fear, is emotional. Fear of being hurt emotionally. Fear of making the same mistakes.
Rosie’s fear was that others would find out what she needed, what she wanted, and that those she cared for and loved would lose respect for her. With a strong man like Decker, she didn’t have to be scared though…
Instead, she headed to the kitchen for coffee. A cup would calm her and wake her up the right way. The hammering, the walking around on the roof, the noise in her normally quiet neck of the woods was not the right way. Not that she’d been sleeping that great as she’d confessed to Decker. Ever since he’d gotten to town, her sleep was screwed up. No man had ever had this affect on her, and she was getting pretty pissed about it.
She was the independent one, the one who was in control, the one who knew what she wanted and how to get it. What she didn’t want was a man disturbing every precious minute she should be using to sleep. She didn’t want a man disturbing every waking second she should be using for something constructive instead of mooning over tattoos, shaggy brown hair, deep chocolate eyes and him slapping her ass with every belt he owned just so she could feel each different sensation.
“Exactly how much coffee do you plan on drinking?”
Shit. She looked down at what she’d been doing, scoop in mid-pour with coffee grinds. The filter was nearly full and she’d lost count of scoops. When had he come in the house? “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”
“I did knock. Once. You didn’t hear me. You didn’t hear me clomp across the wood floor either to stand behind you.”
He was right again, damn him. “Once? Gee, give a girl some time to answer, why don’t you?”
“As deep into space as you were, I don’t think it would have mattered how many times I knocked.”
She ignored him and lifted the filter carefully from the basket in the coffeemaker and dumped the grinds back into the coffee canister. And then started over again counting out how many scoops she wanted. Was twelve ounces going to be enough?
“What are you doing in here?” In her line of work as owner/waitress at the diner, she had to be gracious all the time, courteous. In her own home, she didn’t have to be. He set her on edge and if he ever so much as touched her between her legs…
“Couldn’t keep my mind on the job.”
Dangerous. The man was dangerous to her peace of mind. “Try harder.”
“Oh there are things I wanna try harder at, but the roof isn’t one of them at the moment.”
She wasn’t gonna ask. Nope. She wasn’t gonna give him one more measly inch. She grinned to herself. Not when she wanted the six or seven inches in his jeans. “What’s it gonna take to get you to go back outside?”
“Nothin’. You’re just so sweet and cute and rumpled from being in bed. I wanted to see you again.”
Cute and rumpled? She chanced a quick sweep of her blue with gray polka-dot pajamas and bare feet with light blue polished toes. She knew her hair was a tangled mess without having to touch it or look at it and she could all but taste the morning breath she sported. Oh yeah, real cute.
Then there was the matter of her not having a bra on. Her nipples were straining against the soft cotton of the blue T-shirt and where she should have been mortified or embarrassed, she couldn’t find it inside herself to lie like that. She honestly didn’t care if he saw her without a bra or without clothes at all. Truth be told, she wanted him to see her naked. She wanted to see him naked. She wished she could make up her own damn mind instead of flip-flopping back and forth. “What if I’d gone back to bed?”
He waggled his eyebrows at her. “Then we’d be having this conversation between the sheets.”
Okay, well she walked right into that one. “Good thing I didn’t then. Those boots would have made a hell of a mess in my bed.”
“Oh I’d have kicked ’em off.”
Rosie shook her head. The man had a comeback for everything. “What do you want, Decker?”
“Yeah? Are you sure you want to discuss this now? I haven’t had much sleep, and I’ve not had my coffee yet either. I can’t be held responsible for what I might say.”
“I’ll take my chances.”
He crowded her against the edge of the counter and bracketed her in with his arms on either side of her hips. He was still hard and was pressed into her lower belly. Sweat glistened on his body and all she wanted to do was lick him.
“Fine. I’m pissed at you. You…” She poked him in the chest with her finger, ignoring the electric zing that flowed up her arm. “You fucking left last night. I couldn’t believe you left me standing there on the porch like that. You’d just found out something that no one else knows in this town knows except for my very best friend in the world, and you just left. What the hell was that about? I want you so goddamn much that I can’t goddamn sleep. I want you to go away. I want you to finish the roof and then go away.”
“Because you tempt me.”
“Nothing wrong with temptation, Rosie. I fully believe in giving in to temptation.”
“I do too, but not here in my hometown. You scare me, Decker.” With that statement she promptly bit her tongue. Then let it go. He asked and dammit, she wasn’t ashamed of her sexuality, her desires, her kinks and there was no reason for her to hide it from him or anyone else. It was time to be herself without the fear of censure. She didn’t have to go around, shouting it from the rooftops, but the man standing in front of her, crowding her in her own kitchen, well…she could tell him. But after coffee.
“What do you mean?”
That grin was back and it made her as hot as the black liquid dripping into the stainless carafe. “Chicken.”
Decker stepped back, and she could breathe again. But she felt the loss of his heat, his weight, his scent.
“Not chicken. Just… I need to be thinking more clearly and right now, my head is all fuzzy from lack of sleep.” And you being near, pressed against me, hard as a rock, smelling like the outdoors, sexy as sin…
“Okay, well, I’ll leave you to have your coffee. I just wanted to look at you again. You can spill it all tomorrow night.”
“Do you want a cup?”
“No. I want it all.”
He winked and walked away. Why did she have the feeling he wasn’t talking about coffee? And why was she so chickenshit when it came to opening up to him? It’s not like he was going to stick around for things to get serious or out of hand. For as much as she accused him of leaving her wanting, what the hell did she think she was doing?
I spent a lot of time revising Masked, formatting it. I’ll be spending just as much time on Unmasked for it’s release next weekend. In the meantime, though, I am writing. I am finishing up Trouble in the Making and the 3rd story which will follow Unmasked. This will free up November for me to finish the 2nd race car book, Drive Shaft. It’s been my goal to get it finished by the time NASCAR season was done and well, both will be done by end of November. It is my NaNoWriMo project.
Also in book news, I have decided to self-publish the 3rd Blue Jeans and Hard Hats book. I have let Samhain know this so now I’m letting you, my readers know it. Basically, I wanted to be able to have a release date before late Summer 2012 and we simply couldn’t get it worked out that way. I am aiming for a February release for it. I hope y’all are looking forward to Blue’s story as much as I *finally* enjoyed writing it. It was a hard-fought book, but I am pleased with it.
For those who have purchased Masked, thank you. For those who haven’t, yet. Why not? It’s a really hot little number…grins. Remember, you can find it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Smashwords. I’ll be uploading both Masked and Unmasked to All Romance eBooks next week.
Have a great one y’all! I’m off for more coffee and to get back to writing…
Good news? Okay. Yesterday, my Samhain Publishing editor sent me a contract offer for Blue Jeans and Hard Hats, Book 3, Forever In Blue Jeans. If you’ve followed the series, this is Blue’s book. It’s a longer book, too. Just over 60,000 words. My longest one yet.
Now, for the Not Gonna Make Ya Happy News… I was told by my editor that she put in for it to be a July 2012 release.
*hides from all the things being thrown at me*
If it makes y’all feel any better, I wanted to cry. And honestly, if it weren’t the last book in the series, I’d self-publish it, but I want the books together. I know with the invent and all of ereaders, that all the books would be together at Kindle and Barnes and Noble. However, the other side of that coin is that I want this book to have the same look, feel, and quality treatment as the other books in the series.
I know y’all wanted that book much sooner than a year from now and I know it’s just gonna screw up any sales momentum, but it is what it is right now. At least we know it’s coming.
In that same vein, that same line of positive thinking, here’s a little clip for ya to cheer ya up… give you a bit of bar fight and survival from one of my favorite sports movies, The Replacements
I finished writing a short story for submission to The Cowboy special call from Delilah Devlin and Cleis Press. I’ve always wanted to write for Cleis Press so, cross your fingers!
And now it’s on to other writing…
Twisted Up is in the final stages of editing. Hopefully we’ll have a cover and blurb and be on the Samhain coming soon page, well, soon. I’m also hoping to have a cover soon for Trouble In The Making, my first self-pub book which I’ve been trying to finish. I asked the cover artist about it this morning so…
That’s about all for now. It’s almost football season, y’all. College football season… To celebrate, I’m feelin’ a giveaway comin’ on… I’ll keep y’all posted.
I’m doing this kind of post today, a picture one because, well, it’s fairly easy and not taxing my brain. Most of my cells today are focused on Forever In Blue Jeans as I am in the final turn. I’ve come around the last bend and can see the checkered flag at the finish line. I will be pouring a lot of my time this week into getting this book done. I did think though that I should leave y’all with some images of things that have been inspiring me lately…
Oh and for those of you that missed the announcement on Twitter and Facebook, I did, infact, get one of these…
I love it. I really do. Did I need it? No. But I did want one. I got a coupon in the mail from Best Buy and bought it with that. Getting some $$ of it was, well, easier to swallow. I do enjoy it a lot. The coffee is not as strong as I am used to making, so the caffeine jolt isn’t very big for me in one cup. A cup of French press coffee has a serious punch to the system that drip coffee, no matter how it drips, can come close to. I do find myself a victim of the convenience and drink more than I should now in one day. I’m chalking that up to new and need to get my money’s worth out of it. At the same time, when I was using my French press regularly, it was one 12oz cup a day. Now with the Keurig it’s more like 2 7oz cups a day. Either way, no matter how I’m trying to justify it, I do love it and am grateful to all those that participated in my blog about it a couple of weeks ago. One thing I’ve discovered, is that it would be fun to have K-cup swap. Each person is going to like different flavors and varieties. I will use the Keurig more for flavored coffees than regular. I have bought the Cinnamon Roll, the Kahlua, and the Espresso Blend (used this one to make an iced caramel macchiato. Not as potent as from an espresso machine, but it did work well.) But, again, I can see a swap working out well for a group of people. Might have to see how one can make this into a blog thing…grin.
As y’all know, I’ve been writing. And as you know, I usually always have more than one book being written at a time. Usually when I get close to the end of one, I’ll concentrate on it solely until it’s finished. Or sometimes I’ll even work on one a lot until I get to a place where I’m not sure how to continue and I’ll work on another book until I figure the first one out.
I’m still working on Cowboy Justin and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I thought today that I’d shared with y’all some lines from my current Works In Progress. You can see on the sidebar over there that there are quite a few of them. So, let’s get started, shall we?
Twisted Up (Cowboy Justin and his girl, Ella)
She never saw him lift the jug and hold the bottom in his palm. She never saw it coming at all until the water hit her, soaking her face, her hair, the tee shirt she wore.
She sputtered and he laughed.
“I told you to stop that.”
She wiped water from her face and he helped by slicking her hair back, just as he had his own. “I can’t help it if you’re so good looking. Go get ugly or something and I won’t gawk.”
He pressed a kiss to her soaking wet head and turned her so they could walk back to the house with his arm around her and tried to keep from looking down at her nipples, which were at present trying to poke holes in the shirt she wore. “I don’t want to get ugly. I like you gawking at me, but I have other plans for us for today that don’t include a mud bath.”
Too Bad (Jackie and Mac)
“Why do you do this, Jax?”
She loved his little nickname of Jax for her. He was the only one that called her anything other than Jackie and she loved it. She’d never tell him that though. He made her feel… Hell, she wasn’t sure what he made her feel. Which was a completely lie. She knew exactly how he made her feel, what he made her feel.
“I’m not doing anything.”
She just wished he would stop treating her special and start treating her like he treated everyone else. She wished he would stop looking at her with that all knowing little smile and that twinkle in his eyes. He wanted her. He knew she knew it. She wanted him. He knew she knew he knew that too.
“What do you want me to say, Mac? Great, I’m glad you’ve decided we should finally fuck and get it over with?”
Drive Shaft (Alli and Jason)
“Not bothering me. How about you, Jake? Are you bothered that Alli stopped by?”
“Nope, not a bit.”
Jake had come to stand beside Cam against the side of the car and suspicion started to set in. She looked back and forth between the two men. What the hell was going on? “Okay, well, on that strange note, I’m gonna be going now. I’ll call Grant from the car to find out why he sent me over here.”
Alli turned around and put one foot in front of the other, continuing to look over her shoulder. Both men were staring after her, the oddest looks on their faces.
“You’re here for me.”
That was a voice she hadn’t heard before and she stopped in her tracks. Alli spun on her heel and looked beyond Cam and Jake to the office doorway. “I’m here for you?” Which was fine with her given the yumminess of him. He was young, shaggy blond beneath his cowboy hat, long and lean in dark jeans and cowboy boots. A tee shirt stretched across his chest, but not too tightly. There was a little scruff on his face. And he was young. Damn good looking from across the room, but young. Too young.
Had she told herself enough times that he was young? The way her belly did funny little swirly-do’s she didn’t think she had. Not near enough.
“Yes, ma’am.” He winked. “Me.”
Alli groaned and the sound echoed around the cavernous room. Oh dear God, he called her ma’am. With a wink. Yep. Way too young. “I don’t understand.” But she was afraid she did. She just needed some clarification.
Hot Yummy took a few steps toward her and those swirly-do’s in her belly picked up speed. If they kept it up, they were going to end up as a full blown twister.
“Grant set us up. A blind date.”
Forever In Blue Jeans (Blue and Cort)
“Shit.” Shit. Shit. Shit. Cort couldn’t stop the word from repeating itself inside his head. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes again. He looked up through the windshield, hoping the woman’s face and hair and body were different than the face and hair and body of the one he’d first glimpsed when he pulled up in front of the large house. It wasn’t. She wasn’t. All of it was the same, every last inch of every last feature he could see. “Shit.”
Did she recognize him? He hoped not. On the other hand, he hoped like hell she not only recognized but remembered in great detail every moment from that one night, every moment up until the time she left while he was still blissfully, ignorantly snoring.
He made a big production in the cab of his truck and was pretty sure he looked like a raving lunatic tossing notepads and pieces of paper up, down, and across the seat, but he really didn’t give a fuck. Especially not in front of her.
When he finally did get out of the truck and proceeded to slam the door behind him to make a point, if only to himself, his boot slipped and he nearly fell on his ass in the wet red clay that was synonymous with the South. He gripped the door handle and held on for all he was worth, pulling himself up, rigid and locking his knees until he regained his balance.
“Careful there,” she called from the porch. “The rain we had last night hasn’t dried out yet and that is some slick stuff you’re stepping in.”
Yeah, no shit. Instead of actually saying those words, he simply slid her a look that had she been closer, would have spoken for him. Another deep breath. A clenching of his jaw until it hurt. An almost painful grip on the door handle…
Slowly, Cort put one foot in front of the other and walked away from his truck. He kicked off what mud he could when he got to the small gravel lined walk that led to the steps. She was waiting at the top for him, looking like she hadn’t a care in the world and could wait all day for him. Too bad she hadn’t waited for him to roll over and wake up all those years ago in that Savannah hotel room.
Get Lost (Annabeth and Billy)
Annabeth peered inside the coffee container one last time just to be certain she hadn’t just imagined the contents were all gone. Nope. Not imagined. Actually gone. Every last ground bean was gone.
With a calm she still couldn’t seem to muster up on the inside, she set the canister back down on the counter and stalked through the bedroom into the master bathroom she shared with Dave. She whipped open the shower curtain.
“Babe, what the hell?”
“Did you drink the last of the coffee?”
Dave pulled the curtain closed. “I was going to go get some after my shower.”
Annabeth yanked the curtain open again. “But you did drink it? The last of it? Dave, there was enough in there for both of us for this morning. And you drank it all.”
“Shit, Beth will you stop doing that. You’re letting all the steam out.”
“Unfuckingbelievable. First my mother calls all night long even when I told her not to, and now I wake up to no coffee in the house. You know I can’t do anything without my morning coffee. You know this. Why would you drink it all?”
Before he could say anything in response, she stomped out of the bathroom and over to the dresser for a pair of socks. Once she had those on, she forced her feet into her slippers and pulled on a sweatshirt over her pajama top. She should be warm enough to go down to the Starbuck’s on the corner. It might have snowed last night but she should be okay to get there and back before she froze.
Grabbing a beanie hat off the hook by the front door, she let herself out. The elevators looked promising but at the last minute she decided the stairs would be the better way to go. The running down of three flights would heat her up inside and keep her warm. And if she power walked from the downstairs door to the corner, she might not even feel the cold at all.
She pushed the stairwell door open and took the stairs at a decidedly moderate clip. Her slippers weren’t the best running shoes around. A small bit of heat started to flow through her blood by the time she got to the door that lead outside. She took a deep breath and pushed it open, swearing like a sailor as the cold wind hit her smack in the face.
Well, if that wasn’t enough to wake her up…
No matter. Nothing was going to deter her from her destination. Starbucks. Coffee. Caffeine. More important than the blood flowing through her veins at that moment.
Annabeth dodged piles of snow and stepped into foot holes where others had trod before. She was almost there. Almost… just a few feet more… just… “What the fucking hell?”
Dumbfounded she stared at the sign that in big black letters read “Due to a water main break, we are CLOSED”.
The growl and scream that came out of her throat startled those passing around her but had no effect on her at all. She didn’t care that she was making scene and losing her mind there on the sidewalk. The meltdown had been coming for a while. She’d been feeling it for months. The knots in the back of her neck and the tightness in her shoulders. The need for more and more caffeine. The long walks around downtown that she’d started taking more frequently to get away from people demanding, bitching, whining. She was due to explode and here in front of the Starbuck’s with a broken water main was where she did it.
Trouble In The Making (Johnny and Liz)
He leaned down toward her and brushed his lips against her ear lobe. “Naughty girl. Your mind is in the gutter.”
She shook her head and her hair brushed over his face. He did laugh then. She was exactly as he remembered her. Shy yes but beneath it, wanton, wild, sexy as the day is long. He’d been such a fool to turn her away. He wouldn’t be making that mistake again.
“I just thought… With what you said… People are watching, Johnny.”
“Let them watch, Liz.”
“You do.” He lifted his head and looked down at her. He always had towered above her and he’d always felt protective of her. The people that milled around them, that waved and pointed, that stopped to say hi, that were figments from a past that he could care less about meant nothing. Sure, they’d been friends for four years during school, shared classes, had parties and proms, shared a lot of memories that he’d always have and remember, but they meant nothing in the grand scheme of his life now.
“Say the word, Liz. We’ll stay or go.”
“You’d do that for me?”
Johnny nodded. “I would. If you want to stay, we’ll stay all night. If you want to go, we’ll leave right now.”
“Will we have to come back tomorrow to the brunch and the other activities?”
She had that anxious look in her eyes again and again the thought flashed through his head about how she would survive being on the road and surrounded by people with him, but he pushed it aside. He’d bring that up later. “No, not if you don’t want to.”
“Then I’d like to go and not come back.”
“You know what I’m going to do with you instead, right?”
Okay well… Guess I should get back to work, yes? Are you tempted at all? Are you feeling the slightest bit of teasing? Even just a little hint of it?