FIRST RESPONSE: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY
Editor: Delilah Devlin
Deadline: November 15, 2019
FIRST RESPONSE is open to all authors.
Editor/Author Delilah Devlin is looking for stories for a romantic erotica anthology tentatively entitled FIRST RESPONSE: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY.
Why write a short story for this collection? Well, it’s certainly not about making a lot of money, so why do it at all? I’ve said this before, but here are my thoughts…
Writing a short story for a call for submissions is a chance to flex your writing muscle! It can be a chance to experiment with a genre you’ve never written. If you’ve never written a story in first person but don’t want to begin by writing an entire novel using it, start short! For myself, I’ve written stories in new genres or with fresh themes that ended up being so much fun to write they’ve spawned entire series.
You have a deadline! I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping my butt in the chair without one!
It’s a promotional opportunity! If selected, you’ll be joined by 12-15 other authors for the launch, sharing your audiences and, hopefully, picking up new readers along the way. Having your story in the collection is another chance to be “seen.”
And remember, you retain the rights to your story, so you can republish it for individual sale or give it away to attract subscribers to your newsletter. You might even decide there’s more story to tell and expand it into a novel!
Here’s what I’m looking for…
FIRST RESPONSE: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY will include stories that satisfy the reader who craves stories about those brave people who sweep into therescue, regardless of the dangers. Here are a few ideas…
When an alarm goes off in a high-rise apartment building, our heroine is trapped in an elevator while fire spreads in the floors above her. Who will provide her comfort until she can be rescued? An ex who’s a fireman with local FD? Perhaps the heroine is the pilot of a spaceship on the edge of the galaxy when her ship is attacked, and she’s forced to land on uninhabited planet. Who will come to her rescue? Will he be human? The vessel of a woman attempting a solo voyage around the world is sinking in the middle of the ocean. Will a pirate be her only hope?
Don’t limit your imagination to these ideas! Just remember, our “boys” have to behave badly—to give the rescuee just what they always secretly craved… Have fun with the concept.
I’m open to any subgenre of erotic romance you want to write. I’ll accept contemporary, historical, science fiction, or paranormal stories, and I won’t be picky about whether the stories are hetero, LGBT, ménage… Basically, you, the author, can go anywhere your imagination takes you so long as 1) a character is in jeopardy, and 2) the story is a romance, and 3) you have a bad boy somewhere in the pages!
The anthology will be sold at a low price—my intent is exposure for you and your writing. The more readers reached, the better! You will retain the rights to your story so that, at a later date, you can republish your stories individually.
I’m seeking hot and inventive stories from authors with unique voices, and above all, I’m looking to be seduced by tales filled with vivid imagery and passion.
Published authors with an established world may use that setting for their original short story.
This is erotic romance, so don’t hold back on the heat. Stories can be vanilla or filled with kink, but don’t miss describing the romantic connection between strong-willed individuals learning to trust and love one another. A deep sensuality should linger in every word. Keep in mind there must be a romantic element with a happy-for-now or happy-ever-after ending. Strong plots, engaging characters, and unique twists are the ultimate goal. Please no reprints. I want original stories.
How to submit: Prepare your 2,500 to 5,500 words story in a double-spaced, Arial, 12 point, black font, Word document (.doc or .docx) OR rich text format (.rtf), with pages numbered. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch, and double space (regular double spacing; do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). U.S. grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) is required.
In your document at the top left of the first page, include your legal name (and pseudonym, if applicable), mailing address, email address, and a 50-words or less bio, written in the third person, and send to email@example.com. If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you’d like to be credited as. Authors may submit up to 2 stories. I will respond no later than January 30, 2020 with decisions.
Payment will be $25.00 USD, ninety days after publication at the end of that month.
Who am I?
Delilah Devlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance. She has published nearly two hundred stories in multiple genres and lengths, and is published by Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Entangled, Grand Central, Harlequin Spice, HarperCollins: Mischief, Kensington, Kindle, Montlake, Penthouse, Running Press, and Samhain Publishing.
Her short stories have appeared in multiple Cleis Press collections, including Lesbian Cowboys, Girl Crush, Fairy Tale Lust, Lesbian Lust, Passion, Lesbian Cops, Dream Lover, Carnal Machines, Best Erotic Romance (2012), Suite Encounters, Girl Fever, Girls Who Score, Duty and Desire, Best Lesbian Romance of 2013, and On Fire. For Cleis Press, she edited Girls Who Bite, She Shifters, Cowboy Lust, Smokin’ Hot Firemen, High Octane Heroes, Cowboy Heat, Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors and Sex Objects. She also edited Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance, Rogues: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Blue Collar: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Pirates: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, and Stranded: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology.
Direct any questions you have regarding your story or the submission process to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a recent convert to my books, you might not know I write genres other than romantic suspense. One of my favorites to write is paranormal.
Today, I have a re-release of a book I wrote for Ellora’s Cave back in the day. I’ve done some revising, naturally. It’s a f/f romance, so it might not be your cup of tea. However, it is magickal, creepy, sexy—and set in New Orleans and in a voodoo purgatory. If you’re still not convinced you want to give it a try, it’s FREE for KU subscribers!
Plus, I have a new pre-order up! It’s the next story in the Beaux Rêve Coven series, which features my five witches living on a Louisiana bayou with so many demon beaus they’re tripping over them! Check it out below!
Enjoy the long weekend! ~DD
A f/f paranormal novelette…
Ingrid Kassel is a fledgling witch, uncertain and not in complete control of her powers, especially after drinking a double-shot of vampire blood. Charged with retrieving an object buried with a daughter of the Voodoo Queen–she angers the spirit guarding the tomb and finds herself entering a shadowy limbo, where she meets beautiful Marie, living in fear of a demon who also desires the black magic candle infused with the powerful mambo’s blood.
In desperation, Marie tricks Ingrid, capturing her and seducing her to charge the candle for her own bid for freedom.
A drunk on the sidewalk bumped past Ingrid Kassel.
Instinctively, she turned her head and issued a hiss, baring teeth. Not that she had fangs to back up the warning, but her temper simmered at a slow, angry boil, and her reactions weren’t entirely her own. A single taste of blood had ignited a hunger for more, it seemed, and the loss of control pissed her off.
If this was what it felt like to be a vampire, it was a damn good thing she was a witch.
Ever since Magda, the coven’s priestess, had given her Elena Csintalan’s blood to drink to lend her strength for her quest, Ingrid had fought to retain a sense of self.
The moment the viscous fluid had slid down her throat the ground had swayed, shifting under her feet. Magda had urged her to drink more, her vivid eyes glinting with excitement.
With a dizzy shake of her head, Ingrid’s sight had changed—shadowy corners resolving into stark relief. Her sense of smell had refined so that, now, she could still detect the sour odor of cheap whiskey emanating from the skin of the drunk even though he’d shuffled around the corner. A feeling of invulnerability, of superhero strength, burned through her blood, hardening her muscles. She felt ready to test her newfound but temporary powers on the first person who looked at her crosswise.
And that just wasn’t her. Or if it was, she’d been really good at being a quiet, dutiful girl for so long that she’d convinced herself she wasn’t a grumpy badass.
Ingrid checked her watch and cursed. She was late. She’d stopped by her one-room apartment to dress in a long-sleeved black tee, dark jeans, and running shoes. She’d clipped her golden-brown hair into a messy bun and stuck a black ball cap on her head to cover it.
All so she could blend into the darkness. As if she were dressing up for a second-story job. Like Tom Cruise ready to zip down a wire.
Then she’d decided to pick up some supplies. The trip to the convenience store had taken longer than it should have because every drunk in the city had been in line to buy hooch for the night.
A nervous energy pushed her faster. She had to retrieve the relic, charge it, and then return to her coven before the magickal energy from the relic dissipated, because, then, the spell wouldn’t work. Why she in particular had been chosen for this task was a mystery, but there was a lot she didn’t understand about the murky underworld she’d entered a year ago.
Most of the time, she simply banked her irritation with things she didn’t comprehend and saved her questions, reminding herself that she was still a fledgling witch and the others expected her to learn the craft in measured layers.
However, even without the vampire booster shot she’d drunk, she wasn’t a patient person. Even though Magda and the other women who mentored her constantly hovered when she played with magick, she’d practiced in secret, honing her skills. They didn’t have a clue what she could do.
Which made the fact Magda had assigned her this mission even more mystifying.
“Bring me the mambo’s candle,” Magda had said, hands cupping Ingrid’s face so that their gazes locked for a long, terrifying moment.
Staring into Magda’s dark eyes, Ingrid had relived the moment when the Blood Countess had swept into The Absinthe House and whisked away four women—three vampires and Cassia, her coven sister.
Then more pictures clicked through her mind like an old-fashioned movie reel, of more of her sisters chained inside a dark, dungeon-like room with their eyes glowing, faces lax, while the Hell Bitch, Elizabeth Bathory, painted her skin with the blood of another victim. Of Bourbon Street in chaos while Bathory’s army of vampires tore through the district on a bloody rampage.
Why Magda had decided to show her those visions was another mystery she might never fathom. However, it had impressed upon her the importance of her task. The fate of the city rested on her shoulders.
Ingrid shook off the chill that crept down her spine. St. Louis Cemetery Number One loomed just ahead. Time to get serious.
She slung the plastic grocery bag over one shoulder and ran along the whitewashed, brick wall to the iron gate, which she scurried up hand-over-hand before swinging over the top of the iron rail at the entrance to the graveyard.
Power still surging through her veins, she nearly laughed when she landed. She crouched and gave a quick glance behind her to see if anyone had noticed, but those walking along Basin Street this late at night hadn’t seen the blur of her figure running beside the wall, much less her creepy, spider-like feat.
Her heart thrummed strong inside her chest. Her body felt powerful, her breaths came steadily, even though she’d had to rush. For the first time, she envied vampires.
Until she smacked her lips and once again tasted the metallic flavor of the blood she’d choked down.
Dumping out the contents of the bag, she raked through it until she found the box of colored chalk. She opened the package, discarding all but the purple piece, then knelt on the sidewalk and drew a crude purple heart with curlicues extending from the bottom point, a triangle beneath it, and bars across the top, middle and bottom that ended in crosses. Then she tossed away the chalk, closed her eyes, envisioning her goal, and prayed to the loa of the cemetery.
“Ma’man Brigit, goddess of this cemetery, please guide me to Marie Laveau’s crypt.”
She opened her eyes, stuffed the things she still needed into the bag, and lunged to her feet, running straight ahead, not waiting for an answer because she was well acquainted with this particular divinity. Ma’man Brigit admired confidence in a woman. Even more, her pride would be stroked that she’d been asked, rather than her husband, Baron Samedi, loa of the dead. And Ma’man didn’t like humans fumbling around her realm. Something Ingrid had learned in her secret studies of Voodoo, or Vodou, as practitioners called it.
Moonlight filtered down, striking the long rows of pale, above-ground crypts, illuminating their whitewashed and marble exteriors, some more than others.
“Thank you, Goddess,” Ingrid whispered as she dashed toward the brightest row. She turned, and one mottled, stucco crypt sat awash in moonlight, tall candles huddled against its base, coins sparkling on the ground, glittery Mardi Gras beads draped on sharp edges—all left by worshipers seeking advice or a special wish.
X marks marred the three-panel marble front of the crypt, a groundskeeper’s bane for sure, but she was about to add more. She knelt and dumped her sack atop the Glapion family marker—the supposed resting place of Marie Laveau and her daughters—picked up a candle scented with dragon’s blood, lit it and placed it in front of the door. Then she selected a red marker and drew three X’s on the crypt.
“Beautiful Madame Laveau, please open your door. I seek a talisman, one you entrusted to your daughter, Marie. Please grant my wish.”
She waited. Nothing happened. Sighing, she tried to think of something more “witchy”—and didn’t everything sound more magickal in Latin?
Again, she paused. Then, irritated because nothing was happening, she leaned over the jumbled mess of coins, beads and candles and shoved at one of the stone panels. “Dammit, I asked nicely.”
A throaty chuckle sounded behind her. Ingrid scrambled around, still on her knees, to behold the full-bodied figure of a woman dressed in long robes, her shape nearly transparent but glowing, shimmering at the edges like the aurora borealis.
“Your curse ensures the mambo’s privacy, gal.”
Ingrid felt the voice rather than heard it, as though it emanated from inside her head instead of from the wispy lips of the apparition.
“Ma’man Brigit?” Ingrid asked. Although the loa had answered prayers before, this was the first time she’d seen her.
The woman nodded then drew closer, bending so her face was inches from Ingrid’s. “Hmmm… The night creature’s blood is mo’ hindrance here than help, I think, li’l witch. It makes you proud.”
Ingrid swallowed an instinctive bitchy vampire retort, then offered, “I need your help, Ma’man.”
“So direct. So rude.” The loa tsked. “This be my realm you entered, my help you be seekin’. What you bring fo’ me?”
New on Pre-order!
Harvest Moon Beaux Rêve Coven, Book 4 Coming October 22nd!
In Jefferson Parish, deep in the bayou, is a place called Bonne Nuit. Off the beaten path, isolated by swamp and connected to the sea, there the Beaux Rêve Coven thrives.
Five witches… Too many demons to count…
Radha’s sister witches become concerned when her health begins to fail. Her sleep is never restful, but they are unable to pinpoint what is wrong. Khan, a jinn who’s been tasked to serve as her guardian, has watched her restless sleep and believes he knows the answer. Her dreams are haunted by a Mare set on draining life from the witch who imbues the fabrics she weaves with magick.
As much as ancient jinn Khan loathes the idea, he seeks an old enemy, a Vanir, whose magic allows him to enter Radha’s nightmares to slay the Mare, an enemy bent on taking advantage Radha’s vulnerability to make her his own.
Our summer vacation destination this year was Europe. We started our trip in London then relied on trains to travel to the cities of Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples. To be able to fit all these cities within two weeks, our stay in each city was brief. We would not have been able to visit all these locations with the time available if not for the convenience of high-speed trains.
As a Regency romance writer, this trip brought to mind the Grand Tour of the eighteenth century. The Grand Tour was typically taken by young men to round out their education. The young man, considered to be an inexperienced cub, traveled with a bear-leader or tutor. The tour would start by boarding a boat at Dover and crossing the channel to Calais, then travelling over land to Paris. Other cities visited included Dijon, Geneva, Avignon, Rome, Florence, Venice and Naples. Although France and Italy were the highlight of many tours, itineraries and the length of travel were flexible depending on the wealth of the individual and personal preferences. The condition of the roads played a role in a location’s popularity.
Paris was considered an important city and it was included in many itineraries. Part of its popularity was that the city could be reached in three days, food was of high quality and accommodations were plentiful. Men in Paris would participate in French society and visit sites such as the Louvre. While in Italy, they would study art in Florence. They also visited architectural sites such as the Colosseum in Rome and Pompeii.
Despite traveling with a bear-leader, supervision could be lacking. There were some who engaged in sexual liaisons and return home with venereal diseases that would eventually lead to their death. There was pressure to gamble and some men lost a considerable amount while abroad.
Although, the Grand Tour was generally undertaken by men, some women did participate. Mary Wollstonecraft, known for her work A Vindication of the Rights of Women, embarked on a tour after her book’s success. During this time, women were expected to be companions and raise children. Women with a desire for independence and intellectual pursuits, such as Mary, were often ridiculed and became outcasts. Divorced women also faced censure from English society. As a result, they would travel or move to places such as Paris where they would be more accepted.
The French Revolution and Napoleonic wars put a halt to the Grand Tour in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Once the wars ended, families began traveling to Europe. The era of the young man embarking on a Grand Tour with a tutor was largely over.
I love researching and traveling to historical locations. While books and photographs are great resources, experiencing a place in person provides details that are hard to glean otherwise.
What is on your list of places to visit?
Resources Black, Jeremy, The British Abroad: The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century (Gloucestershire, The History Press, 2009)
Dolan, Brian, Ladies of the Grand Tour (New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2001)
Laudermilk, Sharon and Hamlin, Teresa L., The Regency Companion (New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1989)
About the Author
Cynthia Capley is working on her first novel set during the Regency era. She enjoys writing stories with strong characters that triumph over challenges to achieve their happily ever after. Cynthia lives in the Pacific Northwest where the rain and numerous coffee houses make the perfect writing companions. She lives with her husband and a menagerie of pets and likes to spend time playing fetch with Natasha, a tortoiseshell colored cat with an attitude.
One Sunday in May, many years ago when I was in college, I got a call from my sister. Since it was Mother’s Day, I was expecting that she had called merely to remind me to call our mother, but it wasn’t that. She was calling to warn me that Mom was a mess because our father had just that morning left her. I found out later that after 28 years of marriage, Dad had learned that a woman he had known more than 10 years before, the wife a fellow naval officer, was now a widow. He had been to see her and had received enough encouragement that he had found an apartment and was leaving Mom.
A pretty crappy thing to do, no? And on Mother’s Day, too! Our family was in shock for years. Mom was especially hard hit because she had been a Navy wife for 20 years of her marriage. We had moved every two or three years. She had a college degree, but had never worked outside the home or had a chance for a career of her own. Even after he got out of the Navy, we moved twice for Dad’s job.
I spent a lot of time pondering whether my mother was better off knowing the truth about how Dad felt about her, or worse off because she had been so dependent on him for so long and was now alone. I could never decide. Neither alternative sounded good.
It was many years later, after I had started writing science fiction, that my parents’ divorce planted a seed in my brain. What would life be like if there was no such thing as divorce? What if finding a mate was a matter of biology and not feelings? And furthermore, what if a mated-for-life pair experienced total empathy with each other? They couldn’t then hide their true feelings. This was obviously not possible with humans, so I came up with a whole new species. I named their planet Wakanreo and the people Wakanreans.
Once I got going on the story, I had two main tasks. First, I had to decide how this quirk of biology would affect Wakanrean history and cultures. Second, I had to decide how it would affect individuals, more specifically my protagonists.
For the first task, I decided that one effect of uncontrolled life-long pairing off would be that Wakanrean society is less stratified than ours. Even if there was an aristocracy, arranging marriages only with other aristocrats wouldn’t be possible. Ergo, people could not be kept in their “place.” In modern time, a corporate CEO could step away from his or her desk and suddenly be mated to the office cleaner. Also, being good looking counts for a lot less. No one tries to alter their looks to attract a mate because that doesn’t work. Since biology does the deciding when it comes to mating, there would not be cultures with different family structures—no polygamy, as such, although I did allow for the rare instance when one person pairs off with two others simultaneously. And all cultures have to accept the results of biological mating. If you bond to someone of the same gender, or to two people instead of one, everyone knows it’s not a choice. Sex is in no way related to morality.
As for how this circumstance affects individuals— are Wakanreans better off than humans or worse— I decided that would vary. Luck is very much the decider; if you are a kind person and you bond to another kind person, then the chances are you will both be happy with each other and thus happy in life (Although you could make that case for human marriage, too, I think). But on Wakanreo, if you are a kind person and you bond to a selfish, cold-hearted person, you are truly out of luck. If they dislike you or hate you, you will feel it. And since you can’t divorce a biological process, you are stuck for life. In the end, I decided that Wakanreans are luckier than humans in that they can’t be deceived in a mate, but less lucky in that they have fewer options.
Of course, Wakanreans exist only in my head, and in my books. This is one of the few instances where I knew where a story idea came from. Usually a situation or a scene just pops into my head, but for Alien Bonds, I knew exactly what had planted the idea.
NOTE: the views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and not the SFR Brigade.
A story of two very different people from two very different cultures, a sort of AVATAR combined with PRIDE & PREJUDICE. In ALIEN BONDS, two lives are changed in an instant. Industrial chemist Dina Bellaire travels all the way to the planet Wakanreo to advance her career. Her carefully planned life goes up in flames the second she meets Kuaron Du, a Wakanrean who makes his living singing ancient songs in a dead language. Both of them know they can’t go back to the way they were before they met. They just have to convince the rest of the universe that what happened to them is real.
A voracious reader since childhood, Carmen Webster Buxton spent her youth reading every book published by Ursula LeGuin, Robert Heinlein, and Georgette Heyer. As a result, her own books mix far-future worlds, alien cultures, and courting customs.
Carmen was born in Hawaii but had a peripatetic childhood, as her father was in the US Navy. Having raised two wonderful children, she now lives in Maryland with her husband and a beagle named Cosmo.
What do you think the future will look like? We’ve had a lot of television shows and movies depicting different possible futures. The most well know would be the STAR TREK series. The series portrays humans in the future as explorers who have gone into space to see who and what is out there. The film BLADE RUNNER gives a dystopian view of the future. There are cartoon shows like FUTURAMA and THE JETSONS which give a different twist and serious programs like THE EXPANSE and ENDER’S GAME. The future is limited only to the imagination of the writer.
There are difficulties in imagining what things will be like in thirty or fifty years. In the 1985 movie, BACK TO THE FUTURE, the DeLorean travels thirty years forward in time where Doc Brown gives it a flying upgrade because all the cars thirty years in the future could fly. Well, 2015 has come and gone and we still don’t have flying cars. In 1987 my father passed away from a heart problem of a leaky valve. Last year my husband had robotic heart surgery to repair a leaky valve. We have made amazing advances in medicine in the last thirty years. What will the next thirty look like? In 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon using computers with less computing power than most people carry around in their pockets today, smart phones. What will the machines and computers of the future look like? Today we can buy devices for our homes that turn on and off lights, music, television and appliances. What new innovations will we have in the year 2050?
In my latest novel in the Love through Time series, A WAY BACK, my character, Jack Sinclair, is accidently sent eighty years into the future and has to deal with all the strange things he finds there while figuring out a way to get home.
I’ve had to think a lot about what the world will be like in eighty years. What changes and advancements do you think we’ll have by then?
A Way Back
Time travel only seemed like a good idea.
Like many before her, Sarah Anderson is determined to make her fortune in the Wild West. She loads up her skirts with twenty-first-century necessities, gives her fiancé a kiss, and takes the leap. Only to land in the wrong decade. She’s lucky. She finds a job. But until she can save enough pennies for the return trip, she must contend every day with the fear of discovery, slop buckets, and roving hands.
Jack Sinclair returns from yet another business trip only to learn that his fiancée has left him for another time. They are now many miles and two centuries apart. Jack is stunned. But only for a moment. He sets out to find Sarah and bring her back home. Or die trying. Jack’s only fear is that he might be too late to save the love of his life.
Officially, summer isn’t over until September 22nd, but the last of August marks the unofficial end. It’s the time of year when the kids go back to school and vacation time is almost done. The Labor Day weekend is the last kick at holding on to summer.
I get energized this time of year. My school days are long behind me but I still love the big displays of school supplies for sale. I’m a sucker for markers and pens, journals, and all the lovely color-coded folders. It’s the kid in me.
I look at September as a time for new beginnings. Maybe it has something to do with the school year starting. Even more than New Year’s Day, I find this a time of renewal and possibility. I love the crisp autumn air and the splash of color and the start of the holiday season, which begins in October.
But I’m not quite there yet. For now, I’ll hold on to the final gasp of summer, pray for some nice weather, and enjoy it while it lasts. Hope you do the same.
And if you’re looking for a book to read, maybe you’ll check out one of mine.
If you love space mercenaries, you’ll love the Marks Mercenaries. These brothers are tough and focused. Their goal—finding their sister who was abducted years ago.
Like a heat-seeking missile, he stayed on target until he hit his target. He’d never wavered in his goal to find his sister and protect his brothers, never faltered.
No other woman could have done such a thing. Only Lacey.
And he was going to leave her behind.
Liberating Lacey Marks Mercenaries, Book 3
Garth Marks and his brothers are space mercenaries and traders. Their life’s mission is to find their younger sister, who was kidnapped ten years before. Their search has led them to Eden, a planet that is home to a cult-like group.
Lacey Freshlan wants to get away from Eden, and the strangers who have come here might be her ticket out. Garth is willing to use the sizzling attraction between them to get information from her, but he won’t agree to take her with him. As much as he’s drawn to her, Garth won’t risk the safety of his family.
When Lacey foils a plot to poison them, Garth takes her with them when they flee. But they are not free yet. Betrayal and lies lead to a battle not only for their safety but also for their hearts.
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Are there really? From the expression of Edwin Booth on this 1866 playbill from the New York Public Library’s digital collection, he looks like he’s thinking that might not be such a good thing. I first encountered Hamlet’s sentiment in an eighth grade English class. I always thought it strange that he would feel the need to say it when both he and Horatio have just seen and heard the ghost of Hamlet’s dead father. It is a line that has stayed with me fifty years later as I have pondered just what those “things” might be. Those things we can only detect through a mind open to the possibility of the sixth sense or extrasensory perception (ESP).
There are nine types of ESP that, when explained, show how being attuned to the feelings and/or our surroundings, ESP feels quite logical and for a writer pretty darned cool elements to incorporate into a story.
Precognition – The ability to see into the future. Retrocognition – The ability to see into the distant past. Clairvoyance – The ability to see events without being physically present. Mediumship – The ability to communicate with spiritual world and talk to the deceased. Clairsentience – The ability to feel the emotions of others. Clairaudience – The ability to receive messages and information through “psychic hearing”. Telepathy – The ability to read the minds of others and know what they’re thinking. Clairalience – The ability to get psychic impressions from the sense of smell. Clairgustance – The paranormal ability to taste a substance without putting it in mouth.
Hamlet and Horatio experienced mediumship. I wonder if during the African-American walking tour I did last Fall I didn’t experience it as well. Was it only my vivid imagination that allowed me to feel, see and hear the spirits of those Africans and African Americans striving for freedom, for a better life?
Why can’t a person be so sensitive to another person’s body language that they can feel what someone is feeling? Couldn’t you be so knowledgeable about a place, an era and particular events that when you’re in that place you can connect to the energy still inhabiting that place and see what took place there as if you had actually been present?
A smell, a sound, a taste can thrust us back to a moment and cause us to from the past only be stored in memory?
What if we intentionally trained ourselves to use our five sense to their fullest capacity? It’s a myth we only use 10% of our brains, but I’m willing to bet we’re only fully focused and intentional is using our brains 10% of the time. What if we could harness our ability to see, hear, taste, smell and touch to the point where we transcended time and space?
Being in the moment doesn’t only have to mean we’re only aware of what’s here and now. William Faulkner wrote “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” Being in the moment also means being aware of what came before and by extension what might be to come. I like to think so. How about you?
Better To Marry Than To Burn
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Caesar King’s ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society’s traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave’s offer and heads West for marriage on her terms.
Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit makes it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?
With thanks to God, he pushed past her flimsy drawers to the moist welcome of her center. Her vaginal walls gripped his fingers with surprising force. No amount of twisting or turning wrenched them free. God, to have that grip surrounding his shaft.
He pulled back and studied her face. Eyes still closed, a sly smile bowed her perfect lips. She enjoyed this battling as much as he.
“Was I too brutal for your enjoyment, Mrs. King?”
Her eyelids rose with the slow grace of sunrise. A gleam as sly as her smile shone in her gaze. “You call that brutal, Mr. King?”
She unclenched her lower muscles, allowing his fingers momentary retreat. With great care, she grasped his hand then slid his fingers between her folds once more.
“Holy Christ, woman. What—?”
The gentle rubbing robbed him of his ability to think.
“Jesus, have mercy,” he wheezed.
She slid his fingers from her wet sex into his mouth. He moaned, lost in her delectable taste.
Without taking her gaze from his face, she raked her gloved hand down his chest, across his belly, to his groin. Anticipation tensed his muscles in the wake of her touch. He watched mesmerized as, with a practiced ease, she unbuttoned his fly, pushed past the fabric, sought, found and stroked his cock. Her woolen gloves imparted a delicious friction he couldn’t oppose, even if he’d wanted. Delight enlivened every muscle in his body, including his jaded heart.
Jesus. This couldn’t be more than arousal. Could it?
Her fingers squeezed and his body arched upward on the yes swelling his spirit with joy. He threw back his head, mouth open, ready to shout as he neared the point of release.
Then she let him go.
He doubled over, slain by the abandonment. His lungs constricted, bereft of air. Reason deserted him too.
She stood and smoothed down her skirts with the hand that had massaged his shaft more deftly than he ever had. Reseated, she grabbed the reins and snapped the leather against his horse’s rump.
“Get up there.”
The wagon jostled Caesar from side to side. Still unable to straighten up, he looked into eyes gleaming with triumph. Her lips curved in a regal smirk.