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Archive for August 3rd, 2012

Guest Blogger: Melanie Atkins
Friday, August 3rd, 2012

The Heat is On

Wow! I live down south, and we’re expecting the temperature today to reach at least 98 degrees, with a heat index of 108-110. And no, this is not “dry heat” like one would find out west or even in Texas. This is sultry, stifling, breath-sucking, Deep South heat. The kind that makes you want to get nekkid, turn up the AC, and drink lemonade. Seriously.

My solution? Stay inside. My cats agree. Usually by 5:30 a.m., they’re clamoring to go out, and they might for just a little while. Then they return to the door, ready to come back in and sleep for most of the day, and scratch until I get up and bow to their feline pleasure. Cats that actually want to stay inside when they can chase varmint outside? You know it’s got to be hot.

I feel for everyone who has to work out in this heat. My sons both do. One is an electrician and has to go into attics on a frequent basis. I worry about him. The other one works for a freight company on the docks. At least he works mostly in the evening and not in the heat of the day. Still, I hope he drinks enough water.

Last Sunday, I went to a swimming party. The heat nearly melted me even though the pool water was relatively cool. The water in the pool where I take water aerobics in the early a.m. two days a week isn’t that refreshing during a heat wave like this. It’s more like bath water. Hot bath water. Jumping in takes my breath away, and not in a good way. Swimming, even that early, just makes me hotter.

I’m stuck inside writing when the weather’s like this. I usually love to write out on my deck in the late afternoon once shade covers it, but not right now. I’d die, even with my fan blowing right in my face. Staying inside makes for more distractions, but I just put in my headphones and plow on. Then I get to a steamy scene, and the heat builds again… Ack! Heat, heat, and more heat.

What do you do to keep cool when the outside furnace cranks up? Do you go swimming? Wallow in the AC like I do? Make cool drinks? Take off your clothes? Sit on an ice block? Okay, I’m laughing at that visual.

Reading—inside, of course—is always a good outlet. And speaking of reading… I have a new novella out this week! (How do you like that segue? Pretty cool, huh? lol) Hope you’ll check out this stand alone story… and just for the record, you might want to have some tissues handy; not to mop sweat, but to dry your tears. Just sayin’… it’s an emotional story.

EMILY’S NIGHTMARE is now available at Desert Breeze Publishing:
**And at many other online outlets, including Amazon, B&N, the iTunes store, Sony, etc.


Detective Emily Rawson doesn’t want children; she’s too focused on her career to give a family the time required. That is, until she falls in love with fellow detective John Cutter, forgets to take precautions, and winds up pregnant. She fights the idea tooth and nail before finally deciding that having a baby is exactly what she wants—as long as the child is Cutter’s. Then tragedy strikes. Will it bring them together or tear them apart?

Fear pummeled Emily. She gripped the Glock and ducked into the enclosed stairwell. The faint odors of oil and gasoline rode the stale air. Time stood still. A bead of moisture rolled down her cheek. She wiped it away and peeked out the door.

Her assailant fired.

White-hot pain speared Emily’s shoulder. She screamed, the sound echoing as she lost her footing and tumbled backward down the cold concrete steps. She landed hard on her back, sticky, ruby red blood coating her thighs. Her head pounded. Fear took her breath.

Inky darkness spilled over her like rising water.

Emily bolted up in bed, cold sweat streaming down her back. The same awful dream. So painful and so real. Every night for the past six months. Ever since John Cutter, her former partner, best friend, and lover, had ridiculed her choices and turned his back on her.

That wasn’t the worst of it, however. Their breakup had come first.

I want a houseful of kids, he’d said. A big family.

His hopeful words had gouged a hole in Emily’s heart, because she didn’t want kids—despite the incident tonight with the rescued baby. Her own childhood had been a living hell, thanks to her father’s bitterness and her great-uncle’s roaming hands, and even though her mother had tried, Emily didn’t want to follow in her footsteps. The very idea scared her to death. Better to just forget having a family and focus on catching criminals. She was a damned good cop and well-deserving of her spot in her division.

During their last fight before she’d left burglary, Cutter had mocked her for making the change and had even bashed poor Mike Jamison, the high school history teacher she had dated for a time the year before while she and Cutter were on the outs. His animosity had made absolutely no sense—and neither did this recurring dream.

“What’s wrong with me?” Emily murmured, shuddering at the thought that she might not ever get a handle on her nightmares.

She raked the ends of her short hair off her neck to dry the perspiration coating her fevered skin. Tonight—she glanced at the clock and groaned; five in the morning, so make that last night—she’d gone to Bullets and spotted Cutter sitting at the bar, and she’d ducked out without him seeing her. No need to stir the hornet’s next. The last time she’d bumped into him there, he’d been way too abrasive. Not mean, exactly. Just belligerent.

She drew the covers up to her chin. She and Cutter had been partners in the burglary division for three long years. She’d thought he was her best buddy and more. And now—