Friday, March 29, 2013

The Romance Saga Part IV: Handling Competition

By: Casey Crow

It has been a while since our last installment of 9's Romance Saga, so to update you, she now has some competition. Apparently, another little girl likes The Crush too, so how is 9 handling the situation?

 Get rid of her.
Yeah...that's not really possible and most likely illegal so I asked for more scenarios.

1. Watch how The Crush and New Girl interact to see if he's showing interest.
New Girl is being "mean" (flirting) and Crush is being "mean" back.

To counteract this potential catastrophe, 9 needs a plan of action. I suggested 9 actually TALK to The Crush instead of just smiling at him, but Mama got the eye roll. 9's playdate has come up with several options:

 1. Get your hair done.
2. Get your fingers and toes done.
3. Always move your hips when you walk, but just a little.
4. See if he has a Facebook page and if he does, "talk" to him. That's easier than actually talking to him face to face.
5.Throw a party and invite him.
6. Get some high heels, but practice walking steady in them first.
7. Get a dog like a great dane. A lot of boys love dogs.
8. Sigh and brush your hand over your forehead.
9. Try to listen to hip hop music. Boys kinda like that.

Now, I may be out of touch with today's way of thinking, but I'm sticking by my suggestion to TALK to The Crush. Not be "mean," simply say "hi, how's it going."

So how have you handled your crush? Did you get all  dressed up and flaunt it? TALK to him? Stalk him at the gym until he had no choice but to share eye contact?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

NAC Welcomes Afton Locke!

Rose, Exposed - Sex in Secret Places

Thank you for hosting me today. I’m excited to discuss sex in secret places and my recent release, Rose, Exposed, a multicultural historical erotic romance set in the 1930s.

 This post is part of the official Rose, Exposed Blog Tour (3/26 - 4/09).    
The grand prize for the tour is vintage-style rose earrings for pierced ears (U.S. shipping address only).
To be eligible, COMMENT on this post. Comment should include the historical time period and geographical setting (when and where) you’d most like to see in a romance.
The tour winner will be announced at on April 11th.

Sex in Secret Places

I’m sure most of us can remember a time when a private place to fool around was an unattainable luxury. Maybe we lived with parents or roommates or were subject to rules. Yet we had that special someone who sent our temperature into the stratosphere from a mere look or touch. What to do?

My latest release, Rose, Exposed, is filled with forbidden love. Rose, the biracial heroine, is interested in dark-skinned Leroy, not in marrying a white man as her father demands. Her father is so strict she’s pretty much under house arrest. Add to this the fact that Leroy has no car and is trying to hold down the best job of his life.

A few measly restrictions didn’t stop them. Rose uses the family waterfront, luckily a secluded place, to paint. Leroy meets her there in secret. Throughout the book, they find a variety of creative places to explore their bodies -- a tree, a car, a shed, and even an alley.

FORBIDDEN starts with the letter F. So do the words FRUSTRATING and FUN. It all depends on how you look at this two-edged sword. On the downside, sex in secret (meaning less than completely private) places is risky.

-It could involve breaking the law, getting expelled from school, or incurring the wrath of loved ones.
-If done outdoors, there are a host of environmental factors to consider such as temperature extremes, sunburn in tender places, poison ivy, snakes, and wild animals. Oh, my!
-Because these trysts tend to be more spur of the moment, birth control may be an afterthought.
-The availability of secret spots can be unreliable, especially if they’re on someone else’s property. Today’s perfect pleasure pit could be tomorrow’s landmine.
-Because cars are mobile, they’re often the first choice of secret lovers. Today’s fuel-efficient small models, however, can be a bit cramped. If someone sees the car rocking, it’s pretty obvious what you’re doing. Tinted glass is a must.
-Speaking of discomfort, a boulder is a far cry from a soft mattress.
-Last but not least, the opportunity to clean up afterward could be difficult or non-existent. It’s very romantic to have a man spill his seed all over you, but walking home in wet, sticky clothes? Not so much.

On the upside, it’s fun!
-Sex in secret places tends to be more spontaneous as couples take advantage of any opportunity that comes along.
-Couples will tend to use a variety of scenes and times of day instead of the same boring bedroom routine.
-The danger of getting caught just makes it more exciting! All that adrenaline fuels the libido.
-Making love outdoors is a great way to commune with nature and get back to our primal roots.

For long-term couples that have lost the spark, I recommend a little sex in secret places to rekindle the fire!

 Rose, Exposed


Ellora's Cave Publishing
Release Date:  27 March 2013
eBook ISBN #:  978-14199-45205
Buy eBook:
Stay tuned for reviews and more:

(I love creating trailers for all my books!)

When Leroy Johnson gets promoted at the new oyster plant on Pearl Point, all he cares about is working hard. When he meets the flirtatious artist Rose Wainwright, however, nothing matters except getting her to the altar and into bed. Healing from a recent loss, he’s not about to let her go too.

Because Rose’s strict, social-climbing father doesn’t approve of dark-skinned Leroy, they court in secret anyplace they can find. Although Leroy’s raw passion can convince her to do almost anything, why can’t he understand she needs freedom, not marriage?
Her father wants her to be white, but Leroy wants her to be black. Playing both sides of the fence leaves this young biracial beauty exposed in more ways than one.

Excerpt (explicit)
Rose, Exposed - Copyright © AFTON LOCKE, 2013 - All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

“You’re so…dark,” she exclaimed. Instead of the disdain he expected, he heard fascination.

Come on, lady. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a colored man before.

“Yes, I’m dark,” he agreed as he politely removed her hand, “which is why it’s not a good idea for us to sit alone together in this car. Someone might come along and jump to the wrong conclusion.”

A conclusion that could get him beat up or worse with the Klan close by on Oyster Island.

But before he could stop her, she clasped both sides of his face and pressed her sweet mouth to his. Aw, hell. A man only had so much self-control, and she’d just shattered his. Unable to stop himself, he plundered her delicate mouth. Her lips reminded him of rose petals, and he sucked the sweetness out of them as if he were a bee. The more he tasted, the more he wanted.

She opened, giving him access to her even sweeter tongue. His penis strained, hard and now wet, against his undershorts. Hell, even his balls must be twice their normal size. Taking a big breath, he pulled away from her.

“We can’t do this. You’re white.”

She looked down at her upturned palms. “Then I really do look white?”

Leroy frowned. “Aren’t you?”

For the first time, her smile disappeared, making him shiver in his wet clothes. “The truth is, I don’t know what I am. I suppose that’s why I took this foolish drive.”

She must be biracial then, he realized, and not forbidden after all. The thought made him want to dance on the hood of the car. She still looked white, though. If he didn’t have the time to court a girl his own color, he sure didn’t have any for a complicated one like this.

“Kiss me again,” she demanded.

Without waiting for him to answer, she locked her hot, damp mouth on his again and tugged hard on his shoulders. Before he knew it, he was on top of her on the front seat. He wished her dress weren’t so thin when two round breasts pushed against his chest and long, slender legs shifted restlessly under his. Dizzy with the scent of rain and her, he froze.

At that moment, nothing mattered except finding out if her cunt was as sweet and yielding as her mouth. He didn’t care if the entire Klan showed up, knocked on the window and caught him thrusting between her legs on this slippery leather seat. It had been too damn long since he’d had a woman. He needed to stop this while he still could.

“Do you know what you’re asking for?” Lust had turned his voice into a husky croak.

She laughed and touched his face again. “I don’t know. What am I asking for?”

This girl was crazier than he’d first thought. What if someone less honorable than himself had stopped instead? She could’ve been raped.

“A whole lot of trouble.” He sat up. “Look, this is not the time or the place. Now let’s get you home.”

The sooner he could be rid of her—before she derailed him from his job, family, and everything else that mattered—the better.

WIPs Coming Soon

Rose, Exposed is the sequel to Plucking the Pearl, an interracial historical erotic romance.
I have two more books planned for the Oyster Harbor series. Next up for romance are Sadie and Henry.

In addition to interracial/multicultural historicals, I also plan to keep writing erotic contemporaries.
Can an older woman find love with a hot male stripper? My current WIP, Two Hours to Entice, will answer that question.

Where readers can find me

I will be attending EC’s RomantiCon Oct 10-13, 2013 in Canton, Ohio -
Don’t miss the book signing on Oct 13th.
I’m also hosting a Fabulous Fusion workshop with Koko Brown and Eve Vaughn to celebrate interracial erotic romance for EC’s Fusion line.

Web site:



Newsletter - The Love Chronicle:


Café au Lait Book Club:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Naked Sushi" is a Cosmo Red Hot Read from Harlequin

"Naked Sushi"  cover coming soon.
I thought this illo had a "Bond Girl" feel to it.
I have some exciting news and I can't wait to share it with you!!

My novella, NAKED SUSHI, is a Cosmo Red Hot Read from Harlequin.

I'm still pinching myself that my wise-cracking, computer-hacking, sex-starved heroine, Pepper O'Malley, will be a Cosmo Girl.

Here's a preview:

Amateur spy PEPPER O’MALLEY gets more than she bargained for when she discovers her sleazy boss is hiding corporate secrets.

She gets fired.

Was it her fault she got caught in the copy room with her pants down with a hunky thief? 

The only way Pepper can get her job back is to become a naked sushi model and spy on her ex-boss.

She’s thrown into a world of corporate espionage she never imagined…


So how did I come up with this sassy heroine?

Pepper is a lot like me. I wrote a column for Microtimes magazine called "Sweet Savage Byte," where I looked at the world of technology from a female pov. This didn't always go over well with male programmers...though I did meet a bunch of great guys at the magazine.

Like Pepper, I also worked for a video game company, wrote code, and worked with audio/video. I also worked for Japanese companies and wrote a book called "The Japanese Art of Sex," which was featured on Playboy TV.

I was thrilled when Harlequin added "Naked Sushi" to this exciting new series.

Sylvia Day is the launch author for the series with "Afterburn" in August 2013.

"Naked Sushi" is scheduled for October 2013.

More to come about my exciting new venture in the upcoming weeks!



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Beast of A Book!

Coming at ya on April 5th! The second book in the Breathlessly Ever After series, Bargain with the Beast! Ellora's Cave is re-releasing my fairy tale book based on the timeless classic, Beauty and the Beast. A scarred man. The woman who wantshim and hopes to heal him with her love. Le sigh.

“What will you have, Beauty?” said her father.
“Since you have the goodness to think of me,” answered she, “be so kind to bring me a rose, for as none grows hereabouts, they are a kind of rarity.”—Beauty and the Beast

 “Show me someone who says they don’t want anything from you and I’ll show you some real estate in the land of Wake the Fuck Up.”—Xavier St. James

In a last-ditch attempt to save her beloved community center, Gwendolyn Sinclair corners childhood friend Xavier St. James, brother of her dead fiancĂ©…and the man who secretly owns her heart. Surely his wealth and contacts can save the run-down building from ruin. The arrangement he proposes confirms what she’s long suspected. He’s become a beast, and he offers a beast’s bargain, one that offends her pride even as it stirs her every desire and titillating fantasy—submit her body to his whim for seven days and the community center remains open.

Losing both his father and brother has left Xavier scarred in more ways than one, but forbidden lust overrules conscience when Gwendolyn appears, asking for help. He’s craved her for years. At last he’ll discover if the passion in her eyes blazes just as hot between the sheets. Her fiery surrender leaves him hungering for more, but their bargain is only for seven days and, ultimately, she could never truly love a beast.

A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Publisher’s Note: This story was previously published elsewhere in 2011 under the title Loving the Beast.

Friday, March 22, 2013


So excited to announce I've got a new release out with Blushing Books called MAID FOR SPANKING! It actually came out years ago and has been out of print for a while, so I've reworked it. This version is totally different - and I think better - than the original. I'm excited about it! Hope you will be, too!

Happy Reading!

Colleen Palmer hates her job as a computer programmer. The pay is good, but the hours are terrible, and what’s worse, she never gets to work on anything interesting. Unable to take it anymore, she quits to go in search of her dream job. In the meantime, though, she still has to pay the bills, so she lets her friend talk her into becoming a maid for Silicon Valley’s rich and famous.

Cleaning really isn’t her thing, but polishing silver and dusting furniture doesn’t seem so bad when she meets her first client, the gorgeous Steven Hughes. It might not be her dream job, but on top of making some pretty damn good money and setting her own hours, she gets to spend her day with a hot and hunky guy.

There are some drawbacks to working for Steve, though. One, he tends to be a little obsessive compulsive about how he likes his house cleaned. And two, he has an annoying habit of spanking her every time she doesn’t follow orders. But everything changes when her curiosity gets the better of her and she sneaks into his secret room to discovers he’s a computer programmer just like her. And that working alongside him might just be the dream job she’s been looking for. If she can put up with all his spankings.


Colleen ran the vacuum over the section of the rug on either side of the couch, then in front of the low-slung coffee table. She was thinking how incredibly easy it was to clean a carpet that had obviously never even seen dirt much less made friends with it when the vacuum suddenly stopped. Frowning, she flipped the switch off then on, but the vacuum still wouldn’t work. She turned to see if she’d jerked the plug out of the wall and was jumped when she saw Steven Hughes standing there with it in his hand.

He scowled. “What the hell are you doing?”

What the hell did it look like she was doing? “Vacuuming.”


Colleen gritted her teeth. He sounded like he was talking to a child who should know better.“You told me you wanted the rug vacuumed, so that’s what I’m doing.”

His brows drew together. “I also said I wanted you to keep the noise down.”

How the heck did he expect her to vacuum quietly? She would have asked, but getting into a fight with a client her first day on the job probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

“Fine. I won’t vacuum. But don’t complain that the rug isn’t clean.”

Giving the cord a jerk, she yanked it out of his hand and angrily wrapped it around the hooks on the vacuum. Across the room, Steven Hughes muttered something under his breath she couldn’t catch.

She whirled around to face him, pinning his with a glare. “I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but you’d better start treating me with a little more respect, or you’ll be cleaning your own damn house.”

Colleen turned back to finish wrapping the cord, only to gasp when a hand caught her arm and spun her around. She knew Hughes was tall, but she didn’t realize how tall until now. He towered over her.

“You’re the one who needs to learn some respect,” he said. “I pay a lot for your cleaning service and I want it done right.”

She lifted her chin. “I was doing it right until you came out here and got in my way. I was even going to make sure the tassels on your overpriced rug were all straight and pretty just like you ordered—which is beyond stupid, by the way. I’m a maid, not your slave, Mr, Hughes, so you can just go to hell.”

Okay, so much for not getting into a fight with a client. She could kiss this job goodbye.

Abruptly realizing he was still holding onto her arm, Colleen tried to yank it free, but he tightened his grip. The next thing she knew, she was bent over the back of the sectional couch. What the hell?

She tried to push herself upright, but a strong hand on her back firmly pushed her down.

Colleen craned her neck to glare at him over her shoulder. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Let me go.”

He glowered down at her with those incredible blue eyes of his. “Not until we get something straight. You might not be my slave, but I pay to have you come here and clean, not interrupt me while I’m working.”

She could officially add arrogant to his list of flaws. And why the hell did he had to bend her over the couch to lecture her? She opened her mouth to ask when she felt his hand come down hard on her jean-clad ass.

Colleen’s eyes went wide. She had to be imagining things, because there was no way he had just done that. But when his hand came down again, this time on her other cheek, she realized she hadn’t been imagining it at all. Steven Hughes was spanking her.

Buy it at Blushing Books!

Buy it at Amazon!


Sexy Romantic Fiction!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

If the Rubber Fits

A brief overview of condom history
By Cindy Spencer Pape

A question that often arises among romance authors is whether or not to have their heroes suit up. Dress the soldier. Wear a raincoat. In other words, use protection, act responsibly, practice safe sex. The condom has become one of the more debated aspects of the romance genre, especially erotic romance.

Arguments on both sides can be fierce. Many authors and readers argue that it’s irresponsible of fiction to not show characters engaging in (and presumably enjoying) safe sex. Others maintain that the romance novel is inherently a fantasy, and to interrupt the moment with mundane precautions would detract from the reader’s enjoyment. While both sides have valid points to be made, the decision gets even trickier when writing a historical romance.

Condoms have been available, in one form or another, for a long, long time. Whether or not our historical heroes would have had ready access to them or any inclination to use them depends on a lot of variables: when and where the hero lives being the most important. Wealth, religion, educational level—all of these can factor in. And of course, depending on how it was made and what it was made of, the efficacy varied wildly. So to get it right, an author actually needs to know a little bit about the origins of the little foil packet.

When I started my first historical romance a few years ago, I had to do some serious digging to find out what my Victorian characters would have access to and use. Of course, once I started, I became fascinated by the research and had to know more.

Nobody knows exactly when the condom was invented. There are Egyptian hieroglyphics roughly 3000 years old that show a man wearing what looks like a linen sheath over his penis. Nobody is sure if this was to prevent disease or pregnancy, or just for decoration. There are rumors of the Romans using this or that for contraception, but no definite references to what could be considered a condom. Cave paintings in France dated to around 100 AD again show men wearing a colored sheath, but again, we have no idea why.

However, people have been trying to not get pregnant, for one reason or another, almost as long as others have been trying to get pregnant. And it’s just common sense to put a barrier between the sperm and the womb. So the use of homemade condoms could go back—well—as at least as long as humans have been making sausage. Given the obviousness of a length of sheep gut with a knot tied in it, it seems likely that these relatively risky versions have been used for a very long time. Keep in mind though, that most of Europe was Catholic through the Middle Ages, and that the Catholic Church considered contraception of any kind (even withdrawal) a major sin. So while the concept may well have existed, it probably wasn’t discussed publicly or in common use.

The first written reference to what we now call a condom was by an Italian scientist named Fallopio (yes, as in Fallopian tubes) in 1564. He claimed to have “invented” a device to prevent the spread of venereal disease. The description isn’t very detailed, but apparently it was a linen sheath that fit over the glans—basically a little bonnet that tied on just over the head of the penis. He actually tested it on 1100 men and none of them became infected. So the condom for disease prevention isn’t a recent phenomenon. Another doctor published something similar in 1597.

From there forward, there’s a pretty clear record of condom use and innovation. They’re mentioned in a French play from 1655, maybe in the correspondence of two French noblewomen from the late 1600s and quite extensively in the memoirs of the legendary Giacomo Casanova, published in 1797. The famous lover didn’t much like them and there’s an engraving in the book of he and a friend inflating them like balloons to entertain a pair of ladies, thus starting a proud tradition carried out by high school boys to this day.

The word condom dates in print to 1706, in a poem, but the origins of the word remain a mystery. Legend says that a Dr. Condom introduced them to Charles II of England as a means of preventing additional illegitimate offspring, but no support of this has ever been found, and it’s now assumed to be a myth.

By the late 1700s you could find prophylactics made of hand sewn goat, sheep, or cow intestine, tanned fish skin, oiled silk, or even very fine leather. Some covered the whole penis, others were caps or “capottes” that just covered the glans, and most had a drawstring at the base to hold them in place. Condom technology really took off in the 1800s. They had great names like cundums, French Letters, French Preservatives, Male Safes, English Armor, and “Patent Circular Protector.”

Early experiments with rubber were fairly unsuccessful, until Goodyear and Hancock (separately) in about 1844 invented the vulcanization process. The new technique allowed for much more durable protection, though the resulting condoms were thicker than those made of skin. They were also designed to be washed out and reused until the rubber started to crumble. The first advertisement for rubber condoms appeared in the New York Times in 1861, so we know they were widely available by then. In 1873, the Comstock Act prohibited the sale of contraceptives by mail in the US, so for many years, they became harder to get with relative anonymity. The reservoir tip was added in 1901, and a method for making them without seams was discovered in Germany in 1912. In 1930 the latex condom was introduced, thus creating the rubber we know today.

Condom history often parallels the mores of society. The strict moralism of America in the early 1900s led to concentrated efforts to restrict condom use. As a result, during WWI, US soldiers had the highest venereal disease rate of any country, over 70%, by some sources, and by WWII, the US military had come around and begun actively promoting safe sex. In 1949, Japan produced the first colored condoms, and lubricated rubbers debuted in the 1950s.  In the 60s, polyurethane condoms were introduced, but were quickly pulled from the market because of their high rate of breakage. Spermicidal lubricant was first introduced in 1975.

The late 1960s saw a downturn in the condom business. Between the introduction of the pill and antibiotics taking the fear out of syphilis and gonorrhea, the idea of a sensation-dulling barrier lost a lot of its appeal. This turned around dramatically after the world learned about HIV in the 1980s, and the discovery that condoms dramatically reduced transmission of this incurable disease. Suddenly condoms were big business again. The wild 1990s saw the introduction of sized condoms, along with novelty products like flavors, ribs, studs, and even glow-in-the-dark rubbers. Polyurethane was reintroduced, with newer technologies solving the old issues of breakage. Condom innovations continue, as safe-sex becomes more and more a prominent social issue. And, for those with latex allergies, or who just like things old-school, be assured you can still buy condoms made of animal gut. They’re available on line or in your favorite drugstore—right next to the magnums and the ones ribbed for your pleasure.

So should we take time in a romance for our heroes to put on a condom? That question remains up to the author and the reader. Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments below, I’d love to hear them. But if you’re going to write it, do it right. Learn a little about the history of this marvelous invention. Make the condom fit the place, the time, the story—and, of course, the hero. In my Gaslight Chronicles, most of the time they do. Because to me, being smart and safe is heroic. Of course, sometimes in the throes of passion, we all make mistakes. :) 
About the Book: Cards & Caravans is book 5 in the Gaslight Chronicles steampunk romance series,Out yesterday from Carina Press. Find out more here.

Blurb: Belinda Danvers isn't a witch. But that won't stop them burning her at the stake...

Connor McKay can tell at a glance that Belinda's magickal powers are minimal at best. She can't be guilty of murdering village children. There's something suspicious about her arrest and lightning-quick sentence. Unfortunately, telling anyone how he knows would mean revealing his own powers. He's been sent by the Order of the Round Table to help and he can't just let her die.

Escaping from jail and running from vindictive villagers in her grandfather's steam-powered caravan is more excitement than Belinda's had in years. And despite the danger--or maybe because of it--she loves the time spent with her sexy rescuer. But there's more to his magick than he's letting on...

There's something going on that's bigger than the two of them. It's time for good to make a stand.
Review: 4 Stars from Romantic Times: “All the trappings of a good steampunk novel are here..but most enchanting of all is the love that develops between the hero and heroine.

 Contest: In conjunction with the release of Cards & Caravans, Cindy is running a contest for a $25.00 gift card to the e-book distributor of your choice, plus the chance to name a character in the next Gaslight Chronicles story. To enter, visit the “Contact Cindy” page on her website and send her a note. Mention which blog you saw this on and some little detail about the post. One entry per person per blog post. The complete rules and a list of post locations and dates are available on the “Contest” page on Cindy's site.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"The Bride Wore Gray:" The Battle of Antietam

Liberty Jordan is no weekend warrior.

She's a high school history teacher taking place in a Civil War re-enactment near Sharpsburg, Maryland when--

She finds herself in the middle of the bloodiest battle of the war at Antietam when she travels back in time...

She also finds romance...

Will Liberty survive the battle?

Here's the next installment of "The Bride Wore Gray."


Yankees, here I come.

Liberty climbed up out of the trench and took off. She grabbed onto her pants, which had come unrolled and dragged in the mud. Chaos surrounded her. Confederate soldiers scrambled in every direction. Panicked, excited, yelling. Losing all sense of direction and order.

She ducked low, trying to keep out of harm’s way. Jeez, they played rough. Men intent on scrapping and jostling with each other, picking up rocks and pretending to throw punches. “Taking some hits,” they called it. She had nothing but admiration in her heart for the five women soldiers who had fought in the real battle. They were true heroines.

You're as strong as they were and just as smart.

Don't let the kids down now, not after everything you've taught them.

Teaching was her life. She fueled her passion for helping kids get ahead in a world determined to keep them back by standing in front of a whiteboard every day, then counseling them after school.

Sweat dribbled down her cheeks. The day had started out as a field trip for her class, a once‑in‑a-lifetime journey to Washington D.C. for kids from the wrong side of the tracks. Now it was matter of personal pride. 

She had to finish what she started or she’d never be able to stand in front of a classroom of students again.

Fueled by new courage, Liberty splashed through puddles of water hugging the damp ground. Mud splattered her face, her hands. She wiped the slime out of her eyes and kept going. The grit in her mouth tasted awful, but she had no time to spit it out. 

Now she knew why her rented uniform came with a set of earplugs, along with a bottle of aspirin, an elastic bandage, a tube of antibiotic ointment, and small adhesive bandages hidden in an inside pocket in the uniform jacket.

She had everything but her lucky coin.

No time to get it now.

She'd left it in her van parked in the lot next to the three-hundred acre working farm. She’d also locked up her cell phone since using them was frowned upon except in emergencies.

She must be insane, running through the storm of shell and musket fire. The field was wet and muddy from the prolonged rainy season and the cannon fire was louder, more intense. Four, maybe five hundred cannons shooting off, one after another without stopping, the battle raging without anybody raising the white flag.

Damn, where are those earplugs?

Fumbling through her pockets did no good. She couldn’t find them and hold up her  pants. She kept going, zigzagging around a trio of Union soldiers. A rough hand grabbed her by the ankle and jerked her to a stop.

Crying out, she stumbled and fell. “Let go of me!”

“Sorry, ma’am,” yelled out the soldier in blue, his eyes wide when he realized she was a woman. “You sure look like a man in that uniform.”

Liberty pulled her hat down over her eyes, embarrassed by her outburst. My God, what was she thinking? That she could play soldier with the big boys?

You’re damn right I can.

Liberty got to her feet, huffing and puffing, her chest hurting, but she was determined not to let the kids down. Blowing out her breath, she whooped and hollered with the rest of them, hoping her students got it all on video. Running, running across the field.

With her pants falling down.


No wonder she tripped over her long trousers and landed hard on the bedrock. Yikes, that hurt. Her butt stung like she’d raked her bottom over a big nail. She turned and saw something sharp sticking up out of the ground.

Cracked, tinged with gray.

Liberty pulled out a long stick, the damp earth sticking to her fingers like moist coffee grounds. She looked it over with a careful eye. No, it wasn’t a stick, it was—

“Bones,” she whispered with reverence. A chill came over her. This was sacred ground. A relic from the past long buried here. Human bones eroding out of a crack in the bedrock exposed by the recent, heavy rains.

Wait, there was something else. Shining under the hot sun overhead. Coppery and bright. Something that wasn't human.

Scrapping away the earth with her fingers, she dug down into the wet ground and pulled out a piece of metal, rectangular in shape with three letters imprinted on it: NCR.

A belt buckle.

Union or Confederate?

Liberty held the buckle tightly in her hand, smooth and cool in her palm. A strong sense of the past gripped her with such intensity she couldn’t catch her breath. As if she’d freed a battle-weary spirit whose presence was so real to her, it was difficult to let it go.

She wondered what had gone through the soldier’s mind when he fell here in battle. Was he afraid? In horrible pain? Were his last thoughts of his beloved? The blood gushing from his wound and spilling onto the ground, his pulse becoming slower and slower until— 

“Watch out, Lieutenant!” someone yelled.

Rrroar! came the tremendous sound in her ears as a big, heavy lead ball screamed past her. Liberty hit the ground. Hard. Every fiber in her being on fire. 

Oh my God, I could have been killed. My brains blown out.

She dared to raise her head and saw the huge cannon pointed right at her, ready to fire again. Her heart beat faster than ever, the terrible realization of impending doom sending a sudden chill through her. She must be lying down in a blind spot on otherwise open ground.

They can't see me. I'm gonna die.  

What happens next when Liberty meets up with a Union soldier from 1862 pointing his musket at her and threatening to shoot her? Find out in two weeks...

PS -- I've got some exciting news re: a new project!!  More next time...

UPDATE: Okay, here's a hint: What do Sylvia Day and I have in common?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nope. Not in My Book

The release of my second fairy tale-based book in my Breathlessly Ever After series is eminent so that means I have to start thinking about the next one. What story do I tackle? What spin do I place on it? What genre? I've been kicking around ideas for the last couple of weeks and yeah, still stumped. The ideas are brewing but nothing's solidified into that perfect blend of characters, motivation, conflict and love. Y'know, like a good cup of coffee. Yet something did come out of my weeks-long ruminations. I know what I definitely DO NOT want in my book. Basing my books on classic, much loved tales, there are certain elements I have to include. Like in Bargain with the Beast, the hero had to be wounded both inside and out. And the heroine had to be able to look beneath his beastly appearance to the beautiful soul of the man.  In Stroke of Midnight, though the "evil" stepsister was the heroine, she was rejected by her family and for one night found magic in the arms of her prince. But...there are some things I refuse to incorporate. Why? Because they're just plain jacked up!

For instance...

Little Red Riding Hood - Besides the hood because it's just a tad bit too cliche-ish for me, there won't be any splitting of wolves' guts and people spilling out. Don't get it twisted, I don't mind a good disembowelment in a book but the only time my heroine is gonna be eaten is...well, you get the picture! In my story Red would kick ass and take names, not be taken down and saved by a passing woodsman. Unless she was taken down by the woodsman...

The Little Mermaid - Anyone within the sound of my voice or has 20/20 vision of their screen, please understand this...I detest Hans Christian Andersen's version. Like loathe. She gave up everything for the prince--her voice, her long lifespan, her heart and eventually, her life. Not to mention endured excruciating pain just to dance for that ingrate. And he was so blind to who stood right in front of him--the very woman he was holding out for!--that he broke her heart and married another woman. There won't be a stupid, short-sighted hero (with no redeemable qualities), a self-effacing heroine or a sacrificial suicide in my book. Damn, I wanted to punch that mermaid's face in... There's meek and then there's mealy-mouth... Grrr! Don't get me started!

Sleeping Beauty - None of that waking with a kiss stuff. I'm sorry. Halitosis, people! Nothing romantic about it! That's all I'm saying. After one night I've been known to have one helluva case of dragon breath! Now one hundred years?? Forget that--a week! Naw. If someone wakes from a coma, there will be breath mints running through their IV instead of saline.

Snow White - First, a huntsman almost takes her heart. Then a peddler woman laces her stay so tight she almost dies because her breath is cut off. After escaping that harrowing experience, another merchant woman comes by and pops a poisoned comb in her head, almost killing her...again. She's saved. Then another old woman comes by and offers her an apple. Which she bites and falls into a cryogenic state. Soooo which murder attempt should've been the tip off that an old woman was out to kill her? I mean, after the laces, I would've have 'ol girl's IQ tested. Therefore, no TSTL heroines in my book!

So two weeks later, I haven't come up with what my new book will be about. But I DEFINITELY know what it won't be about!

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Release! THE WAGER!

So excited to announce I've got a new release out with Blushing Books called THE WAGER!  It actually came out years ago under a different name - The Advice Columnist - and has been out of print for a while, so I've reworked it. This version is totally different - and I think better - than the original. I'm excited about it! Hope you will be, too!

Happy Reading!

Will this be one bet she regrets making?

When San Francisco advice columnist Skye Covington gets a letter from a reader wanting to know if she should let her boyfriend spank her, she’s quick to let her know that no modern, independent woman should submit to a man in that way. Not unless she’s okay with her boyfriend expecting her to submit to him in other areas of her life as well. A woman can’t be submissive in the bedroom and in charge outside of it, or so Skye believes.

Sports columnist Carter Madison has always been attracted to Skye, but since it’s common knowledge that she doesn’t date jocks, he never bothered asking her out. Her latest column gives him an idea, though. Since she admits she’s never been spanked and obviously knows nothing about it, he challenges her to a friendly wager. She lets him spank her three times. If she likes it, she has to apologize to her readers in her column.

Never one to pass up a dare, Skye agrees. She has no doubt she’s going to win. Because there’s no way she could ever enjoy getting spanked, right?


Carter regarded her thoughtfully. “Tell me, Skye, have you ever even been spanked?”

Her color deepened. “That’s none of your damn business.”

His mouth twitched. “I’ll take that as a no. Or maybe you have been spanked, and you didn’t like it.” He considered that for a moment, then shook his head. “Nope, you’ve never been spanked. I can tell.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. How could he possibly tell something like that? What, did she have a scarlet “P” on her chest for prude? She was very kinky. She just didn’t want to be spanked.

“Don’t you have a column to write?” she said irritably. “I’m sure there’s something going on in the world of football that’s newsworthy.”

“There isn’t. I checked before I came down to get coffee.” He flashed her a grin. “If you’ve never gotten spanked, do you really think you’re qualified to give advice on the subject?”

Why was she still sitting here talking to him? “You didn’t play every position in football, but you still give your opinion on it, don’t you?”

“Not the same thing.”

God, he was annoying. “I don’t have to experience something to give advice about it. That’s what intelligence can do for you. And if I don’t have knowledge about something, I consult with someone who does.”

Carter nodded. “That makes a lot of sense. So, whom did you consult about spanking?”

Oh, damn. She’d walked right into that one, hadn’t she? So what if she hadn’t consulted with anyone about spanking? She didn’t answer to him. She certainly didn’t get a say about what he wrote in his daily column.

She grabbed her purse. “I have to get back to work.”

Carter reached out and put a hand on her arm. “Hold on a second. I think we’re making a breakthrough here that could be vital to your future as an advice columnist. You didn’t consult with anyone, did you? Which means you could have given that poor woman the wrong advice.”

She glared across the table at him. “I didn’t give her the wrong advice.”

“You hope you didn’t give her the wrong advice, but it’s possible that you did.” His golden-brown eyes glinted. “How about I give you a spanking so you’ll know a little more about the subject?”

Skye couldn’t keep her jaw from dropping. “You’ve got to be kidding. There’s no way in hell I would ever let you spank me.”

He lifted a brow. “Not even to help your readers?”

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. This isn’t about my readers. This is about you.”


“Yes. Trying to prove your right.”

“Maybe.” Carter grinned and Skye couldn’t help but notice that his smile seemed to light up a good portion of the room. “Let’s make things more interesting then. You agree to let me spank you. If I’m right and you enjoy it, you apologize to Curious in your column and tell her that you were wrong.”

Skye almost laughed at how absurd that was. “I’m not going to enjoy it.”

“Well, then you’re halfway to winning the bet already.”


“Or wager, if you prefer to call it that.”

She didn’t care what he called it. It was still stupid. But she’d play his game. “So, what do I get if I win?”

He shrugged. “If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to apologize to Curious About Spanking in your column.”

“That’s not winning anything. In order to have a wager, both people have to risk losing something.”

“What are you suggesting?”

Skye had expected him to back down the moment she implied he’d have to ante up. The fact that he was still grinning worried her. She knew she should pick up her purse and latte and leave, but she couldn’t. She hated to admit it, but she was the kind of girl who always got pulled into the truth and dare games in college. Her pride never let her back down from a challenge. And this was definitely a challenge.
She simply had to make the risk too high for him to agree. That way, if he brought it up again, she could remind him that he was the one who’d chickened out.

“If you win the bet, I have to humiliate myself in public,” she said. “If I win, you should have to do the same.”

That sensuous mouth of his twitched. “I hardly think that apologizing to one of you readers qualifies as humiliating.”

“It’s not just the apology,” she protested. “I’ll be admitting I was wrong in front of the entire city. To me, that counts as pretty major humiliation.”

His eyes narrowed. “I think I may have misjudged you. But okay. You obviously already have something in mind, so what is it?”

“You’re going to that sports awards dinner in a couple weeks, right? The one where you’re getting recognized for best reporter of the year or something?” She’d heard it from Pam in copyediting, who’d heard if from Bob in finance, who’d heard it from Allie in arts and leisure. “If I win, you accept your award dressed up as a clown. Big baggy pants, floppy shoes, funny nose, the whole works.”

Carter stared at her as if she’d just told him she wanted him to dress up as the Sugar Plum Fairy and dance the Nutcracker. “You’re joking, right?”

Skye smiled. She knew Carter would never agree to the bet now. He was too worried about looking cool to risk losing. He’d never dress up like a clown and humiliate himself in front of his colleagues. Especially when she was essentially the one deciding who won or lost the bet.

“I knew you’d be too chicken.”

She made little, clucking sounds to make her point.

The muscle in his jaw flexed. “You’re on. If you can honestly tell me that you don’t enjoy the spankings, I’ll accept my award dressed up like a clown.”

She frowned. “Spankings? As in more than one?”

The corners of his mouth edged up. “You have complete say in who wins and loses this wager, which means we need a little something to balance the scales. Instead of one spanking, I’m going to give you  three of them, at a time and place of my choosing. That will give you plenty of opportunity to reflect on them, and give me an honest opinion.”

Skye’s mouth tightened. Dammit. She was trapped and he knew it. If she didn’t agree to go through with it, Carter would think it was because she was the one who was too chicken.

“How do you know that I won’t just say I hated them, no matter what?”

“You could do that, but I’m depending on your journalistic integrity to keep you honest. I’m willing to take the chance. Are you?”

Even though she knew she shouldn’t do it, Skye found herself nodding. “It’s a deal.”

Carter reached out to shake her hand. His was big and strong, and just the slightest bit rough. “I’ll pick you up Friday around seven.”

Her brow furrowed. “Pick me up for what?”

“To take you out to dinner, of course.”

She blinked. “You’re taking me out to dinner? We didn’t say anything about a date.”

He snorted. “What did you think I was going to do, come by your cubicle on my lunch break and give you a spanking? Besides, it’s not a date. It’s just two coworkers having dinner together.”

One of whom was going to spank the other at the end of the night. “Right.”

“You have to be in the right mood to enjoy your spanking, and in the interest of winning the bet, I’d be stupid not to help you get into the right mood.”

Skye gritted her teeth. Carter may not want to call it a date, but it sure seemed like one to her. Well, she was stuck now.

“Fine. I’ll text you my address,” she snapped, picking up her phone and getting to her feet. “By the way, I don’t like seafood.”

“You live in San Francisco, and you don’t like seafood?” When she only glowered at him, he held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, no seafood.”

What the hell had her pride gotten her into? “You’d better reserve that clown costume, because you’re going to need it.”

Giving him one more glare, she grabbed her purse and half-finished latte, then turned on her heel and stomped out of the coffee shop.

Buy it at Blushing Books! 

Buy it at Amazon!


Sexy Romantic Fiction!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Color Codes

I love color. Always have. When I was little I remember vibrant purple-and-orange curtains. When I married, I chose peacock blue for my bridesmaids dresses because it was the only vibrant color available that season amidst a sea of pastels. I wasn't thinking blue--that was just the prettiest color I found. In college, I hung out with guys--a lot. When we played softball, their bats were always too long for me. So I bought my own, scaled to someone my height. It was also bright, neon pink, which made the guys laugh. Since I was often the lone female, or at least one of a minority, pink became something of a signature--the comment that, hey, this one of the guys is really a girl. That running joke continued after my marriage and my children were born. I'm still the lone girl in my household. Even the dogs and the iguana are male. So I have a lot of pink. My phone cover, my wallet, my laptop case, my business card case--all pink. Also my swim suit, aqua shoes, and beach bag. I have pink and brown luggage. You get the point.

When I went to get a tattoo for my 49th birthday, I told the man I wanted pink somewhere in the design. I was adamant on this. So my Celtic knot dragons, which are otherwise all black, have bright pink eyes. The artist who did the work was very understanding. Of course, he said, he'd add the touch of pink. Was I a breast cancer survivor or was it in honor of someone else? My mom, or sister or something?

Huh. This floored me. I mean, I KNOW pink often denotes charitable campaigns for breast cancer. But really? Is that the ONLY reason for pink? Of course not, as one of my lesbian friends reminds me. Pink is also something of a symbol to her.

Huh. Not lesbian. Not a cancer survivor. Both causes I strongly support, mind you, but neither particularly applicable to me. Can't I just like pink?

Likewise, a yellow hair ribbon says something. Red means heart health. There were all the green ribbons at the Oscars in memory of the school shooting. But green also means environmentally friendly. So many colors are being used to define a particular cause, that it can become something of a minefield.

So here's my plea, folks. Support your causes. I honor and respect that. But let us have our colors. There's only so many of those to go around.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Romance Saga Part III

By: Casey Crow

As you know, for the past few weeks, I've been secretly reporting on the boy crush saga of young love.

Today, 9 (daughter in question) would like to convey the qualities we should be looking for in men.

1. He makes your heart pound.
9 explained on Show and Tell Day the crush made her heart pound when he said he liked to be goofy. Why? Read on...

2. You must have things in common.
9 also likes to be goofy. (Her mama refers to "goofy" as "drama queen") Plus, 9 and her crush love dogs and other animals.

3. He must tell good jokes.
That's true, we all love a man with a good sense of humor.

4. He must give good presents.
Well, duh.

I went to lunch with 7 the other day and The Crush waved at ME from three seats down. ME! I was quiet excited until 9 explained the following to me:

1. He was trying to impress me because if Mama likes him, she will encourage the relationship.
 9 did not actually use the word "relationship." Instead she smacked her hands together demonstrating the boyfriend/girlfriend bond.

2. Mamas must act "cool," otherwise The Crush will know something is up.

3. Mamas must NOT be too nosey.

9 also imparted this logic:
1. Bat your lashes at a boy.
It clues him in that you like him, but very subtly.

2. Have daydreams about The Crush.
But not while the teacher is talking. Mama gets mad when the grades slip.

Stayed tuned…