AuThursday – Elizabeth Meyette

Elizabeth MeyetteTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I wrote my first book, Love’s Destiny, on a dare many years ago. Life threw me a few curves, so I had to return to college, get a teaching degree, and find a job. I taught secondary English and journalism for most of my career, though I did a delightful stint as an elementary media specialist (school librarian). As an English teacher, I never had time to pursue my own writing, so my novel gathered dust under my bed until I retired. My friend said I didn’t retire, I refired, and she is right. I started writing full time, and Love’s Courage is my fifth novel since I left teaching.

How do you make time to write?

I am fortunate to be able to write full time. I so admire authors who juggle a job, young children, and other responsibilities and still commit to their writing. I tend to become so focused on writing that I let other things go like exercise, meditation, reading, and just plain fun. My husband Rich is very understanding though. He says I get cranky when I’m not writing. He’s right.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do, but I have been fortunate to evade it thus far. My problem is too many ideas and too little time.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write in two genres—historical romance and paranormal mystery. I love historical romance because I love to research what it was like to live in earlier times. The Brentwood Saga (Love’s Destiny, Love’s Spirit, and Love’s Courage) is set during the American Revolution, an era I adore. Rich and I have gone to Colonial Williamsburg, VA and New York City to do research and for him to take copious photographs for me to use.

I also love paranormal mystery. Mystery has always been my favorite genre, and while I was writing my first one, The Cavanaugh House, suddenly this ghost appeared. Readers wanted more of my characters from The Cavanaugh House, and the characters had more to tell. Buried Secrets came out in 2016, and the third in my Finger Lakes Mystery series will be out in 2018.  The rest is history, or rather, mystery.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I am a hybrid author. My first two books, Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit, are with Simon & Schuster/Crimson Romance. All my other books are indie. I like the control I have over my indie books. I get to choose my own cover (Rich created both my mystery covers), my publishing schedule, and my marketing strategies. I have my indie books professionally edited and formatted, and the cover for Love’s Courage was done by a different cover artist. I guess I’m a control freak, but it works because my indie books outsell my traditionally published books by thousands.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I am an extrovert. This works well for me because I am in several writers’ groups, so I interact well with people. I also love to do book talks and give presentations at workshops and conferences. After teaching for so many years, I feel very comfortable speaking to large groups, especially if they don’t throw spitballs.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“She believed she could, so she did.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write, write, write. Read, read, read.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.elizabethmeyette.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

I sure do! This is from my latest novel, Love’s Courage.

LovesCourage_CVR_MEDShe glanced at the shore again as the ship passed the end of the wharf on its journey up the York River to Chesapeake Bay and out into the Atlantic Ocean. A flash of color along the ridge caught her eye. Her heart thumped as a rider careened along the road that ran down the Great Valley leading from the ridge to the port. Even from this distance, she recognized Andrew. How could he possibly have made that journey so quickly?

The letter she had sent him should not have arrived in time for him to see her off. She had never intended it to. His presence would make her departure impossible, and she could not bear that. So, she had delayed sending her letter.

That had been first of her lies.

Snatching his hat off his head, he waved it and whistled, piercing the heavy air as he reached the base of the hill and thundered along the riverbank. He pulled the horse up causing it to plant its hooves, its rigid front legs angled straight out. As he slid from the saddle, he again whistled shrilly, waving his cocked hat.

“Jenny!” The sleeves of his white linen shirt billowed as he signaled to the ship.

How could it be? He must have ridden at break-neck speed.

“Jenny! Jonathon, turn back!” Andrew ran along the wharf until he reached its end.

Would his brother-in-law hear Andrew’s plea? But neither Jonathon nor anyone in his crew looked up. They would not hear him over the sails slapping the wind, arcing and spreading high above the deck, or over the bosun’s piping Jonathon’s orders. The crew were all occupied with raising the sails and navigating the departure from Yorktown.

She did nothing to call their attention to Andrew.

She could see errant strands of his light brown hair blowing about his head. The disheveled look of his shirt, untucked, flapping in the breeze was quite a contrast to how he had looked the last time they’d been together at a formal dinner at Brentwood Manor. Then, he’d worn a cream-colored long coat and russet breeches, his cravat billowing at his neck. His tawny hair had been tied back in a neat queue, as usual. He’d swept off his wool cocked hat in a regal bow, his blue eyes smoky with passion as they shared a secret smile. He’d pulled her to the empty parlor and wrapped her in his arms.

As the ship continued its slow passage along the York River, she leaned against the rail, Andrew’s form ever more distant. She stretched out her arm toward the shore as if, somehow, she could reach him. But it was no use. She dropped her arm to her side. This was what she had hoped for.

This was what she had dreaded.

“Andrew.” His name escaped her throat in a moan. How she had wanted to hold him and kiss him goodbye. She would never hold him again.

“Jenny. I love you, Jenny.”

Although he bellowed the words, they floated over the water to her in a shimmering, faint declaration. Tears ran down her cheeks, and she hugged herself to stop the sobs that shuddered against her ribs.

“I love you, too, my dearest Andrew,” she whispered against the catch in her throat.

 

“Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. It’s been delightful visiting with you.”~Elizabeth Meyette

 

 

 

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AuThursday – Kathleen Rowland

ONIH Bannerkathy2(1)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa.  My dad was the first psychiatrist in town and mother was a nurse.  I’m married to the love of my life who is a CPA.  Our five children have flown the coop.  We have four grandchildren and one on the way.

How do you make time to write? 

Writing is a fun emotional outlet, and I write about four hours a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, and that happens when I have something else must do.  I am chairing a writers’ contest this year.  My chapter, OCCRWA, is depending on me.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I love the combination of mystery and romance. There’s a time clock. Urgency adds to the impact of the entire book.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Traditional with Tirgearr Publishing in Ireland. What an amazing publisher, and I feel so lucky with great editors and cover artists.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

How does this affect your work? I’m an extrovert and people person. I like socializing with family, friends, and other writers.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Just do it.” I had to remind myself to find judges for the Orange Rose Contest before the date of publicizing the contest.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Take classes.  Join a chapter for writers. Maybe join a critique group if inclined.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/786656.Kathleen_Rowland

http://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Rowland/e/B007RYMF7S/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1450835163&sr=1-2-ent

https://twitter.com/rowlandkathleen

https://kathleenrowland.wordpress.com/

http://www.kathleenrowland.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspense.kathleenrowland/

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

OneNightinHavanabyKathleenRowland200 (1)One Night in Havana

Through binoculars, Carlos Montoya had been watching Veronica when she’d had a conversation with a security guard from the cruise ship in question. As a part-time Cuban border enforcer, he was aware of all of the different ways dirt-bags smuggled crap into and out of Cuba. He worked this job to stop them.

Something made her nervous. Now onboard, he’d smothered a smile when she watched the action heat up across the water. Time for a bit of fun. She was a fish out of water when it came to drug transport via cruise ships.

He had his eyes where hers were, on tonight’s final loading of drugs across the channel. Some shady characters he’d encountered through the past few years made regular nocturnal visits. Each night, a variety of activities took place with a procession of scantily clad women. Not that he’d get an opportunity to try them out. He was stuck here on his boat until he nabbed the bad dudes. When this stint ended, he’d catch up with his grandmother’s tenant, a woman with an edgy, artsy vibe that suited her business of running a hair salon. If she weren’t available, he’d find a pretty vacationer looking for fun. Too bad Veronica would be heading home in twenty-four hours.

Tonight’s boredom had disappeared when his competitor in the black silk dress had dropped in and inched along to the back of his boat.

Carlos had stood inside and watched from the hatch as she leaned against the side of the cabin so close to the hatch, he could have reached out and touched her with a hand. Sometimes people under the influence stepped onto the wrong boat. There were plenty of drugs if someone knew basic operations. This wasn’t the case. She made her way to the back of his boat with purpose. She sat her adorable ass on an old life jacket for a perfect vantage point.

Veronica was a looker without the jaded appearance of the many women he’d seen wandering from her cruise ship. Most of the time she dressed in business attire, but her curves smoldered underneath. Her high heels fit with Cuban fashion. The moonlight highlighted her shoulder-length blonde hair. While scuba diving, he’d forced himself to look away from her long, bare legs for fear he’d run his hands up them and tuck his fingers beneath her thighs. At the restaurant, he’d enjoyed a little banter, but tonight he’d gotten another glimpse of her toned body as she crept across the deck. The short dress plastered against her and she hitched it up to move around. The light sway of her hips brought him to his knees. He shuffled around the cabin, his dick pressing against his zipper. Cruise vessels were being monitored by Border Protection, and he’d make sure no harm came to her. He glanced across the water and reminded himself to be useful.

It’d been the same since he and his buddy, Alberto, from the military police put two and two together. They’d sat on a rooftop deck of a bar overlooking the harbor, watching local criminals getting on and off her ship, the Ecstasy.

“That operation needs extra eyes,” Alberto had said with a swig of beer.

“What’s going on?”

Alberto had glared at him. “Crims are dealing from the cruise ships. Your boat has—”

“A perfect location?” The next day, with military cameras and other equipment installed, Carlos started his surveillance job. Same drugs, different participants and ways of operation. Stuck on his cabin cruiser with no company was tough on the libido. Before leaving in the early hours of the morning, he connected his recording device to a landline provided by the port authority. At his house, he filed reports, uploaded photographs to support his narrative, showered, and then changed into his usual garb.

Most days he taught students studying abroad in English at the University of Havana. Cuban students interacted with American, South American, and European exchange students. Socializing made them seek a better life. New hopes and dreams threatened to divide their insular Cuban community. Now, during winter break, he attended the Oceanography Conference.

Every session had been a snore until he’d learned Veronica was pitted against him for the same grant. Stiff competition brightened the experience. The daughter of the late Cephalopodiatrist, Ronald Keane, didn’t churn out an article a month for ten plus years without honing in on the power of eight. Octopuses changed shape and color at will, squirted ink, vanished through tiny cracks, and even tasted with their suckers. The predators reminded him of himself, but everything about Veronica put her in the guileless category.

Did she not know he’d invited her to scuba dive with a handful of judges to even out the playing field? He’d won a handful of grants. Networking was about making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships. Instead of joining the crew afterward for drinks, she’d assisted his eighty-year-old abuela off the boat and down The Malecón seawall. That day a cold front blew in, and massive waves crashed against her chances to expand her sphere of influence. Too bad Bela had lit on her like a sticky butterfly. His heart skipped with Veronica in the midst of a beat.

He was aware of the routine when anyone researched and wrote scholarly articles. She had to plan. Make predictions. Envision. Check data, and then double-check. On paper everything was perfect. But in reality, when competing for a grant, something went wrong. She didn’t sell herself. Perhaps he’d frostily point that out, later, somehow, and help her future efforts.

Movement on the deck outside his cabin brought him back to the present. Veronica stood and turned toward the dock, and he followed her silently to the front of the boat.

A guard in a light blue uniform stormed down the dock. Will she jump toward him?

White Reviews by Crystal button

 

Nowhere On The Map by Caroline Walken

FB_IMG_1498828092909“She is jealous of you, a girl that is naturally beautiful without trying.” 

Maggie frowned slightly shaking her head dismissing his suggestion; Jon lifted her chin and lowered his face to kiss her. 

 All he could feel was Maggie.  Her lips softly brushed his own, lightly she exhaled, and next she leaned in towards him.  Her sweater was soft under his hand, her body warm beneath it.  Her tongue danced on his intuitively he pulled her closer.  It was sad but kissing becomes underrated when you are an adult, as a teen he remembered his first kiss.  Maybe it was that he is too sentimental.  Perhaps it was because he had not kissed a woman in a couple years.  Hell, it could be he was drunk but for whatever the reason; kissing Maggie was sensual.  Jon ran his hand down her waist and placed it on her hip pulling her closer; with his other hand; he wound his fingers in her silky hair.   She moaned softly and the sound traveled straight to his groin.  His heart beat like a drum, hammering in tune with this seduction.  His pulse pounded in his ears so hard it drowned out the band.  The only thing he was aware of was Maggie, her scent, her body pressed against his own, her lips softly responding and becoming more urgent under his.   Jon was became high from her kiss.

 She drew back, he left her lips only to trail his mouth down her neck to her collarbone she sharply exhaled in his ear, and he groaned, having no control of the reaction she brought from him. 

Maggie murmured, “OK City Cat, I get the whole jealousy thing now!” 

Jon chucked then attempted to reclaim her lips but Maggie stopped him.  Her eyes were dancing with mischief as she kept some distance between them. 

“You should probably get your drunk-ass to bed.”  Her voice sounded husky and low. 

He gave her a lusty grin.  “As you wish, Miss Maggie!” 

He was suffering from the double assault of desire and Matt’s Shine and his head spun.  He kept her wrapped in his arms, her body felt like a hot ember against him.  She smiled sweetly, her eyes dancing in the low light. She leaned back slightly, giving herself the chance to look him straight in the eye.

“Well, I would love to continue however, your girlfriends lip gloss is really not one of my favorites.”

Join me next Thursday for Madison Micheal’s Blog Tour. ~ Tina

The Editor’s Kisses by Kara O’Neal

The Editors Kisses TRRThe Editor’s Kisses

Blurb:

She’s a suffragette with plans. He’s the editor with a kiss that could make headlines…

Constance Forrester has no intention of getting married. She is a suffragette and determined to change society. When Stephen Dawson, her school chum, starts a newspaper in their sleepy little town, Constance discovers an opportunity. With confidence and an unflinching will, she asks Stephen to take a risk and employ her as a journalist.

Stephen is stunned by Constance’s impossible proposal and immediately turns her down. But the small moments he’s spent with Constance have piqued someone’s curiosity, and Stephen finds himself sought after by the town princess, Madeline Talbut. Stephen has loved Madeline for years, and when the young lady finally shows an interest in him, he concocts a plan: enter into a fake courtship with Constance in order to make Madeline love him, and in return, Constance can be a journalist for his newspaper. Anonymously, of course.

It’s a chance Constance can’t pass up. So what if she has to attend parties and withstand Stephen’s heart-melting kisses? A suffragette must forge through barriers, break down walls and risk all for the sake of freedom. But Stephen changes the game, and Constance finds herself the object of the editor’s desire…

Excerpt:

“Constance,” he uttered. “I’m gonna kiss you.”

She flinched again.

“I won’t hurt you, I swear it. But if I don’t kiss you…they’ll all question us and our…attachment.” He was an ass. He was using their agreement to coax her into acquiescence, and while he knew it, and was ashamed of it, he continued. “It will only be for a second. I’ll just brush my lips with yours.”

In the darkness, he felt her slight nod against his chin. His heart pounded at her quiet surrender.

When she pulled back as far as the space would allow, and lifted her head to his, heat slashed through him. He’d never needed a kiss as much as he needed hers.

Madeline had kissed him. Once. Behind the schoolhouse when they were sixteen. And that moment hadn’t caused near the anticipation this one was.

He lowered his head and swallowed her gasp. It wasn’t a brush even though he only set his lips on hers. It was a fire. A shot of whiskey that whipped through him and pooled in his gut. He deepened the connection, and she let him, sighing and sinking into him despite already being as close to him as he could get her.

But there was a melting. A need to move to the ground and cover her, press her down and make her his. He used his tongue, tasting her. She capitulated instantly and opened her mouth under his. He took what she allowed without hesitation as his free hand came up to grip her waist.

The damn closet was too small. His left hand was wedged between her side and the slender door. But though he couldn’t get his arms around her, he didn’t stop the kiss. It went on and on, stealing his breath, tightening his chest, and making him doubt everything he’d ever known about his heart.

Rapid footsteps had him surging backward and he knocked his head on the wall.

The door was flung open and cool air blasted his cheeks. He and Constance fell out of the space, their limbs tangling as they tried to right themselves.

Peals of laughter rung around them as Stephen reached out a hand to balance her. She latched on like she didn’t want to let go, and his muscles vibrated with hope she had enjoyed the moment as he had.

It had taken less than a few seconds for him to realize kissing her had been the wrong thing to do. But also the most right, most perfect, most sound judgement he’d ever made in his life.

As those who’d crowded around the entrance to the kitchen went roaring with laughter back into the parlor, he gazed at Constance. And his world tilted.

Her flushed cheeks and bright eyes made his heart constrict with an emotion he was too afraid to name at the moment. But he knew what it was. He knew.

How in the devil had it happened? Was he a fool? A fickle man?

He swallowed. “Do you want to leave?”

And before his eyes he witnessed a transformation that set his blood on fire. Determination changed her expression, and she lifted her chin.

“Certainly not. I’m quite all right, I assure you.” She gave a shake to her skirts. “We’ve a job to do, Stephen Dawson, and I’ll not let you down.”

She exited the kitchen with a swirl of satin, and he followed with less sure steps. She wouldn’t let him down, he was positive. But he was afraid he might disappoint her, for if she knew the direction of his thoughts, she would never forgive him. Constance Forrester had no time for any man. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include caring for the heart of the newspaper editor.

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Editors-Kisses-Pikes-Run-ebook/dp/B06XP8ZQBR/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1512342384&sr=8-6&keywords=kara+o%27neal

AuThursday – Vivian Kohlman

LichtPlease welcome Vivian Kohlman to the Clog Blog.  Vivian – Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised—by a single mother—in the Washington, DC area, with one older sister. I’m currently married with no kids (intentionally), and still live in the DC area. I love this town so much that even after my sister moved to Los Angeles, I just couldn’t make the switch—though I tried to live there a couple of times.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English and an MBA in the Management of Global Information Technology (IT). I work as an IT Consultant for federal agencies and private companies, and I love my job…but I love my hobby—writing romance novels—even more! I picked up writing as a hobby only a few years ago and I’m already on my fifth book as part of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC series. And I’m sure there are many more to come!

Aside from writing, I enjoy travelling and hiking (well, walking around wooded areas—low-impact hiking, you could say). And I love champagne brunches and Friday happy hours, or taking a walk in nice weather.

How did you come up with the idea for your YOUNG AND PRIVILEGED series?

The very first book started with the urge to write about a story of my youth, but making it play out and end much differently than it did in reality. I used the experiences and characters of my friends and me in our teens and twenties (in all of the books). The first book was very personal; the subsequent books flowed from there.

Most people think of Washington, DC as only a political place, full of stuffy congressmen and sleazy lobbyists. But the DC I know is much cooler, and much livelier. My stories focus on the part of society that doesn’t care much for politics—young and privileged adults who are lucky enough to enjoy life and all the nice things this area has to offer.

Why did I focus on this group? Because their life is fundamentally different than the average young adult’s—and it’s exciting. They live like Paris Hilton or a Kardashian—without the fame and notoriety. I think Gossip Girl (the TV show and the books) helped to lead me to this series, but on behalf of DC youth instead of NY.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on book #5 of the series right now, which is a follow-on to book #4 (“Girls Like Me”). Book 5 (still unnamed) continues the story of Ava and her boyfriend; in book 4, they met and got together.

All of the books in the series can be read alone, in any order, but it’s best to follow the series’ books sequentially to best understand the characters and storylines. Since I’m just starting out as a writer, and self-publishing, I’ve begun to try to market the series and have set up my website, Facebook page, etc—these are all in the beginning stages right now, but I plan to work more on them in 2018.

What genre are your books?

Contemporary romance. Although the characters are aged anywhere from late high-school to late twenties, the books are filled with scenarios and language that only mature audiences should read.

What draws you to this genre?

Who doesn’t love a romance? Especially one that is earth shattering and deep…a love that causes emotional elation and is usually followed by destruction. I get lost in contemporary romance stories, and hope my readers get lost in mine!

Writing romances allows me to express stories and characters from a view of what I find romantic—which isn’t always the norm. I don’t write erotica, but some scenes can be steamy. Writing about the ups and downs of falling in love, or out of love, is as much fun to write as reading about it!

How much research do you do?

Because most of what I write is from my own experiences, I don’t need to do too much research. But each story may cause me to research and item or two, and sometimes ask people for their experiences. On top of that, I sometimes choose to try out new locations around the DC area myself.

Most of the locations—bars, restaurants, neighborhoods, etc—I visit myself often, and feature the places I like (or liked, when I was younger) the most.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Nope, I write in spurts. I’ve gone as much as six months without writing anything new; alternately, I’ve written over 3,000 words in a day before. I have a process worked out where I write the basic story very quickly (usually when the story strikes me), then spend the next 6 months or so revising and adding to it. Since this is just a hobby, I want to make sure I continue to enjoy it, so I put no pressure on myself to write.

Which writers inspire you?

Writers? No writer directly inspires me, but I do get inspired by movies, songs, and TV shows. So much so that I plan to stat a blog someday soon that defines all the inspirations for each book. Book 3 was inspired by a dream I had, the nuances of all the books are influenced with whatever music I’m drawn to at the time, and Games of Thrones inspired a main character in Book 4.

Although I can’t say other authors inspire me, I do enjoy reading other peoples’ work. Ironically, I like easy-to-read romance novels that are contemporary or fantasy, such as:

Jessica Sorrensen

Suzanne Collins

Bella Forrest

Cecily von Zeigesar

Jane Austen

L J Smith

Stephenie Meyer

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.viviankohlman.com

https://www.facebook.com/viviankohlman/

https://www.instagram.com/viviankohlman/

amazon.com/author/viviankohlman

All of my books are currently FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. In the future, I may move to other platforms.

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?Book4Series

From Girls Like Me, Book 4 of the Young and Privileged of Washington, DC

I walked straight to him, knowing that the right thing to do would be talking to Miko first. But I didn’t care; I could still feel King’s arms around me, and that made me feel fantastic.

“Hey thanks for taking me off the floor,” I said, sitting down next to him on the sofa, but not too close.

“Don’t mention it. I saw the fight brewing from up here, so went down to warn you girls. You were about to be in the middle of it and my yacht’s parked closer than yours…I didn’t want to have to take you back to my place and get blood all over my pristine decks,” he said, not looking at me once, just staring at his phone.

And we’re back to mean King.

I wasn’t sure what to say, but I didn’t move an inch either. I pulled my eyes away from his face and looked down, resting on the amazingly large watch he was wearing—it was a Breitling that had diamonds around the face and it glittered slightly when the club lights hit it. Strong/soft, basic/decadent, nice/mean, hates me/wants me…this guy is an enigma.

Why is he being a dick again? Didn’t he just purposely save me from harm? So why is he acting like he hates me now?

“Uh huh. Well, I can take care of myself, you know,” I said, feeling hurt for some strange reason.

“No, you can’t. You didn’t move. Every other person outside of the fight fled the dance floor—you stood in one place, dumbstruck,” he said.

He still hasn’t looked at me once.

“Have I done something to greatly offend you, King?”

“No.”

“You seem to be, I don’t know, angry with me,” I said tentatively.

“You’re wrong.”

“So, what’s up with the short answers and you not even looking at me?”

He put his phone down and looked me directly in the eyes. Damn his eyes are so beautiful. A heat wave went through my body when our eyes locked.

“I’m pissed as hell for having to touch you. You felt so fucking good,” he said, putting a lot of emphasis on the last part of that statement.

 

Blazing Blunderbuss by Nix Whittaker

Blazing Blunderbuss by Nix WhittakerHara was shoved out of the tavern. She swore at the men and ducked when they threw her glider at her. It clattered on the cobblestones of the alleyway and she went to see if they had damaged it. The door to the tavern shut and she was left alone in an empty alleyway. She was glad she had convinced them that no matter their desire for her, she would be more trouble than pleasure.

Hara ran her hands over the wooden sides of the glider case. The box was scratched but was still in good shape. A door opened further down the alleyway and two men shoved another man out. He had his hands tied in front of him, so he stumbled and regained his balance.

He turned to the two men and said, “Hey, I’m delicate here. There’s no need to be so shovey and pushy. Remember, I’m just a professor. I don’t have a weapon. I’m not going to hurt you, so you don’t have to be so…so violent. And with all this movement I really don’t want to see my dinner again. No matter how lovely it was.”

He tried to smooth his hair away from his face, but with his hands tied together it was an awkward action. The man looked like a fop and he certainly didn’t fit in with the Roshian commoners who were holding him captive. The Roshians were also armed to the teeth—though being armed was not surprising in a smugglers’ port.

Hara hesitated. She hated fops. They were less than useless. She really shouldn’t get into this. She needed to find a way out of the town and eventually find a permanent berth. She didn’t need to get into fights with random Roshians. She sighed, because she knew it really didn’t matter. She had a thing for trouble, to the point that she wondered some days whether it was hereditary.

Hara called out, “Hey, I don’t think the toff wants to go with you guys!”

All of them turned to her. The prisoner motioned with his tied hands to shoo her away and said, “That is awfully sweet of you to say that, but these guys aren’t about to play nice. Wouldn’t want you to get hurt or anything. As long as they remember I’m delicate, I’ll be fine. Especially if they remember to use silk next time.” He grinned as if it was merely a game of sorts and he wasn’t being kept as a prisoner.

At least he was a decent guy. That made it almost a good idea to help him. Almost. She came closer and dropped her glider on the ground. It would be easier to move without it.

One of the Roshian men said, “Get lost, malenkaya devotshka. This is not your problem.”

Hara replied in Rosh. “I’m afraid I have the bad habit of making things my problem.”

One of the Roshian men held the prisoner so he wouldn’t escape and the other pulled out a large Barker Iron. There were more sophisticated weapons on the market, but it was big enough to put a pretty large hole in her. The Barkers were a favorite of Roshian revolutionaries, to the point that the revolutionaries were called Rosh Barkers after their weapon of choice.

Hara stepped closer. “If you let him go, no one has to be hurt.”

The two Roshian men looked at each other in confusion. The one with the gun turned to her and said, “You do realize there are two of us and only one of you.”

Hara grinned with her hands spread out to appear harmless. “I know. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Maybe if I tie one of my hands behind my back it might even the odds.”

She took another step forward and the men still hadn’t tried anything. Maybe going around as a girl without a disguise was a good idea. If she had been dressed as a boy she would have been attacked already.

Hara waved her hands as she spoke. “I mean, you can’t even call for help. This alleyway is completely deserted. I doubt the people in the tavern will even rouse if they hear a small scuffle out here.”

There, she was close enough. She used the waving of her hands to disguise her movement and took the final step she needed to get close enough to the gun-waving Roshian.

Hara moved fast. Setting her feet apart for stability, she knocked his gun aside and stepped into his guard. She pulled her arm back and slammed the ball of her palm into the man’s throat. He doubled over and she helped him over a little further into her knee. He grunted and slumped to the ground, unconscious.

The other Roshian fumbled for his gun, but his prisoner saw the opportunity for escape and started to struggle. Hara grabbed the Roshian’s gun. She slammed the metal handle on the man’s face and knocked him out.

Now that she had dealt with the Roshians she turned back down the alley and picked up her glider.

The fop followed her and said, “Thank you for that. The rescue I mean.” He waved with his tied hands to indicate the alleyway and the downed men.

Hara shrugged. “You don’t happen to have a spare airship available?”

He shook his head. “I’m looking for one though. We can look for one together.”

Hara picked up her pace as she said, “That’s nice for you. But I think we might be better off on our own.”

She certainly would be better off without a fop following her around. She headed out of the alley and down the street. The fop followed. He worked the knots out of his restraints with his teeth as he skipped to keep up with her.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Excerpt – The Lovers by Irina Shapiro

Echoes book 1 FB“Here’s the prologue from The Lovers.  Just a little something to whet your appetite.”~Irina Shapiro

The darkness was absolute, the interior of the chest smelling rank and damp. Their bodies were pressed together, crammed in an unnatural position, limbs stiff after hours of immobility. At first, there was still hope, but it had run out, as had the air, as the tight-fitting lid prevented even the smallest amount from seeping in. His arms felt like lead, but he gathered what was left of his waning strength and lifted his hand to her face. He didn’t need to see it; her features were burned into his brain, as were those of their child. Please, God, keep the babe safe.

Her skin was still warm, but she was already gone, as surely as he would be in the next few minutes. His lungs were already burning, a sheen of sweat covering his face. He pressed his lips against her unresponsive mouth in a final kiss as a last thought flashed through his dying brain:

It was all worth it.