Friday, December 15, 2017

Burning Desire -- #lesbian #erotica #Elvis @EmilyLByrne


Desire cover

Desire: Sensual Lesbian Erotica by Emily L. Byrne
Queen of Swords Press
978-0-9981082-6-1
$2.99

Elvis impersonators, art-fueled lust, forbidden longings, hot women, unexpected love, rekindled flames, magic, all these and more populate the pages of Desire. Meet thieves and goddesses, activists and actors, ex-spies and tourists in this spicy collection of 11 tales of sensual lesbian erotica by author Emily L. Byrne.

Table of Contents

Viva Las Vegas
The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet
Summer Stock
Spoonbridge and Cherry
An Evening in EstelĂ­
A Room with a View
Treehugger
Diplomacy
The Old Spies Club
Heart’s Thief
The Goddess Within

Buy links


Excerpt from “Viva Las Vegas”

A few moments with Chloe and Priscilla herself would’ve given me a second look. It helped that I was about her size and I’d already had the mullet chopped off after Sue said she’d puke if she had to look at it one more day. What was left of my hair was slicked back and darkened with something out of a bottle. She touched up my brown lashes and worked her magic on my would-be smoldering gaze until the blue suede shoes looked just right. One blue glittery blazer and some tight black pants later and I was ready for anything. Just so long as no one wanted to hear me sing.

Julio smirked like an extra from “The Boys in the Band” when we came out to get him. The regulars all whooped and hollered until I took a bow and swiveled my hips a bit. Then they laughed. I laughed with them. Why not? We all went out arm in arm, still giggling.

Once outside, we hopped on the trolley bus and headed toward the distant lights and glowing fountains of the big places at the tourist end of the Strip. I practiced my sneer until we climbed off the bus at Treasure Island to the great delight of the tourists. Chloe made me pose with her while a couple of obliging drag queens heading off to do their show at some other club shrieked appreciatively. It was all good.

Mid-pout, I took a good look at Chloe. She gave me the full impact of the Look and blew me an air kiss. My stomach did a little flip just then so I didn’t notice Julio taking off until it was too late. “I see something yummy, kids. I’ll catch up with you later.” He sashayed off with a focused look that reminded me of a cat stalking a bird. The sweet little college boy he was after wouldn’t know what hit him. Oh, well. I had other things to think about.

Chloe dragged me across the street and onto the walkway in front of Treasure Island. I waved to a couple of people who yelled, “I see Elvis!” Probably thought there was a convention in town or something. The crowds were already getting thick when Chloe parked me in front of her by the rail. “I’ve seen it before. Watch your wallet. Things are gonna get kind of crazy.”

The crowd filled in, packing the wooden sidewalk until I couldn’t have gone anywhere if I’d wanted to. Chloe’s lips were at my ear. “The Elvis look really suites you, Pam. You a fan of the King?” I nodded my head and tried not to shiver as she leaned a lot closer. Her thighs burned me through my jeans and she slipped an arm around me as if to hold onto the railing. The pirate show started up and as the ships maneuvered, her fingers found my nipple and pinched it hard. I bit my lip to keep from yelling and tried not to arch my back against her.

That was when I realized that she was packing. I could feel the solid flexible weight of the dildo pressed against my butt and got a lot wetter while I warmed up to the idea of sex with the King. Or as close as I wanted to get anyway. The crowd crushed us together until I thought I was going to melt all over her in a big molten pool. I could barely breathe, especially when the cannons started firing and her hands got busy exploring. They roamed under my jacket and shirt, caressing my skin. Her breath was hot on my neck and I could see her lips curl in a sexy smile from the corner of my eye. I bit my own lips hard, smothering the moan that wanted to explode from them.

About Emily L. Byrne

Emily L. Byrne’s stories have appeared in Bossier, Spy Games, Forbidden Fruit, First, Summer Love, Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms, The Mammoth Book of Uniform Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Vol. 2, The Nobilis Erotica Podcast and Blood in the Rain 3. Her collections Knife’s Edge: Kinky Lesbian Erotica and Desire: Sensual Lesbian Erotica are available from Queen of Swords Press. She can be found at http://writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com/ and @emilylbyrne.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

I don’t have to write a holiday story... #FreeBook #WritersBlock #HolidayStress

ice crystal image

But I do want to give you a gift!

A few weeks ago I started working on a holiday-themed story. I had an idea that would do double-duty, marking the season and also serving as the next book in my Asian Adventures series. I was feeling a lot of pressure, knowing that I had a pretty tough deadline to meet if I wanted to get the story published before Christmas.

I got down a few thousand words, but when I tried to continue, I found myself up against a blank wall of internal resistance. Nothing flowed. Every word was an effort. Even worse, I started to doubt the whole concept. I realized that, in fact, I didn’t want to write this story at all, or at least not now.

Then I had a revelation.

I don’t have to publish a holiday story, just because everyone else is doing so this month!

When I visit my Triberr tribes, every other author seems to have some Christmas-themed romance available. But why should I follow the crowd, if I’m not inspired? In fact, I wonder who actually buys and reads all these holiday tales. After all, people are really busy with their own celebrations. Wouldn’t they rather spend time with their family and friends than with their noses stuck in a book (or their eyes glued to an e-reader)?

So I’ve given up on the notion for now. However, I’d still like to give my readers something to mark the season. I’m giving away a free copy of my BDSM holiday erotic romance A Contract for Christmas to anyone who asks

All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post that includes your email. Or if you’d rather, send an email to contest [at] lisabetsarai [dot] com. I’ll send you epub, unless you tell me you would prefer pdf or mobi.



This offer is open until Christmas Day.

Of course you can save the book to read after the holidays.

Here’s the blurb, just in case you’re wondering whether it’s worth the effort to comment.

This Christmas, Santa demands more than milk and cookies

Isabella plans to surprise her husband and master Greg with an intimate Christmas Eve dinner for two. She’s left with only her fantasies of Greg’s dominance to keep her company, though, when a blizzard strands him at an airport a thousand miles away. Then her husband’s best friend James shows up at her door. Over the past year, Greg has invited James to participate in some of their kinky scenes, but Bella has never been alone with the sexy entrepreneur. Should she let him in and risk surrendering to his quiet authority without her master’s permission?

Greg resolves her doubts in an unexpected phone call, ordering her to fulfill James’s every desire. Ever obedient, Bella complies, and James rewards her with a night of soul-searing pleasure. When Greg returns on Christmas morning, he appears unfazed by her powerful new connection to his friend. Instead, he offers Bella an outrageous gift, one she’s not sure she dares accept.

Leave me a comment with your email, and have a sizzling hot holiday!


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WWJD? #Angels #Hell #Blogtour


By Janine Ashbless (Guest Blogger)

When I first started writing my Book of the Watchers trilogy, all about fallen angels and a love forbidden by Heaven, I promised myself that I would not bottle out of the Big Questions.

Using the Judeo-Christian mythos (angels, demons, Heaven, Hell, sin) is nothing new in fantasy literature, of course – look at The Exorcist, or Buffy, or the Narnia books. It’s particularly common in the Horror genre, but does pop up in Romance too.

But I’ve always had a sort of niggling irritation as a reader/watcher, because the characters almost never address what seem to me the elephants in the room. Like, is eternal torment really a just punishment for the mundanely wicked? Is the standard of “wicked” immutable? - is everyone going to Hell for sins like sex outside marriage or eating bacon? If you postulate an omnipotent, omniscient, perfect God in the Judeo-Christian tradition, how do fictional characters keep ending up in Hell “by mistake”? Why doesn’t God interfere in the action personally? (Yes I know He doesn’t IRL, but in a fictional world where you’ve got supernatural agents who regularly converse with Him, and are battling for the fate of the world, there’s even less excuse for the Problem of Evil). Since God is all-powerful and demons aren’t, shouldn’t an exorcism work every time? (They never seem to…)

Most characters never ask these awkward questions. But if they did, of course, there are various possible answers. Maybe there is going to be a literal Deus ex Machina that will fix everything. Maybe the “good” angels aren’t so good, and are lying about just following divine orders. Maybe God’s senile, like in Pullman’s novels. Maybe this is not really a Judeo-Christian universe with an omnipotent deity, but a Manichaean one in which Good and Evil are evenly balanced and either might triumph in their eternal battle.

I promised myself that my heroine Milja would ask the awkward questions. She’s released a fallen angel from his prison and fallen in love with him — does that make her dammed for eternity? (She certainly worries that she is.) Is all sexual desire sinful? Just the dark and kinky stuff? Why doesn’t God just lock Azazel back up again —why rely on the loyal angels to do that, and frankly what the heck are those angels up to?

And I promised that I’d answer those questions by the end of The Prison of the Angels. Because writing a torrid romance with increasing BSDSM elements and a someone-stop-the-Apocalypse plot was just not enough of a challenge ;-)

I think I damned myself!

xxx

Janine

Blurb

Milja Petak’s world has fallen apart.

Her lover, the fallen angel Azazel, has cast her aside in rage and disgust. The other contender for her heart, the Catholic priest Egan Kansky, was surrendered back into the hands of the shadowy Vatican organization, Vidimus, after sustaining life-threatening injuries.

She has killed and she has betrayed. She is alone, homeless, and at the end of her tether - torn apart by guilt and the love she has lost.

But neither Heaven nor its terrifying representatives on Earth have finished with Milja.

Both her lovers need her in order to further their very different plans, and both passionately need her, though they may try to deny it.

Milja is once again forced into a series of choices as she uncovers the secrets Heaven has been guarding for centuries. But this time it is not just her heart at stake, or even the fate of a fallen angel.

This time, the choices she makes will change everything.

This time it’s the End of the World.

The Prison of the Angels is the third in the acclaimed Book of the Watchers trilogy, following on from Cover Him with Darkness, and In Bonds of the Earth.

Buy links



Excerpt from The Prison of the Angels

The cold water flashed like white fire over every inch of my skin. It burnt my eyeballs and my lips and the inside of my throat, and beyond the white fire was a darkness so immense that it swallowed me whole.

I fell forever.

Something grabbed my wrist. Something so hot that it boiled away the darkness, so that there was suddenly light flashing in my eyes. I felt myself grabbed up bodily and lifted. I felt heat against my lips, blowing fire into my frozen lungs. I saw the wooden posts of a flight of steps, and then I pitched forward onto hands and knees in the shallow snow, choking up pond-water. In front of my blurred vision an inchoate swirl of darkness poured up the steps onto the lit porch and then disappeared. Unseen, something slammed against the door, a knock that made the house shake.

I was on the ground beneath the back porch of John’s house, I realized, shuddering.

Mama. Oh Mama. The thought seemed to come from nowhere.

Three times the knock sounded, and on the third the door burst open—outward, onto the porch—to reveal Egan in the lit room within; shaven, shirtless, and frozen mid-lunge for what I could only assume was a weapon of some sort.

He stared.

I tried to cry out.

Milja?”

Grabbing his pistol he ran out barefoot onto the porch and looked around for enemies that were not there. Then he clattered down and pulled me up into his arms. I pressed my face to his neck and he carried me up the steps and over the threshold—not like a bride, but like a child he could hold tight against his torso, his wrists locked under my thighs. His skin blazed against mine. He hefted me into the kitchen and propped my ass on the table in front of the range.

What the hell?” he demanded in a low fierce voice, sweeping locks of sodden hair back from my face. My hat seemed to have disappeared. “What happened, Milja? What were you doing out there?”

Ice. I fell in the lake.” My jaw chattered. It was obvious I was telling the truth—I was soaked from head to toe, and after clasping me so close he wasn’t much drier himself.

Feckssake, woman!” he growled. “What the hell were you thinking of?” He shucked off my coat, which lifted a sodden ton from my shoulders, then stooped to pull my boots off; ice-water spilt all over the floor.

I tried to strip off my gloves but my fingers weren’t capable of gripping anything.

Come here, come here,” he said softly from where he knelt at my feet, grabbing my wrists and peeling away the useless gloves. He pressed my hands on either side of his warm neck, holding them there. They must have felt like ice-blocks to him, but he didn’t wince.

He looked like a knight kneeling before his queen, I thought. I could feel his pulse.

I’ll go get towels, Milja. Are you going to be okay a sec?”

I nodded, though he probably couldn’t see it through the shuddering. He rose and hurried off, leaving me with the radiant warmth of the stove. I thought I should probably get the rest of my clothes off, but even after I struggled with my fly zipper my jeans seemed determined to cling to my bum-cheeks.

I heard the back door bang shut and I flinched.

Azazel?

Had he been gathering himself to come get Egan? Was he the one who had saved me from the black waters? Where was he now?

Egan came back in carrying armfuls of towels. “Alright?”

I’m okay,” I told him, smiling through my shudders. He was still shirtless, and I could see the faint Ethiopian scars on his arm and chest.

He wrapped my hands one at a time in a towel, chaffed them dry, and then set them deliberately against the hard, hot wall of his torso.

Oh God.

Then he slipped all the buttons on my thick flannel shirt—the one I’d chosen this morning precisely because it wasn’t provocative or distracting—and he only slowed when he realized I was wearing just a bra-top underneath. My nipples stood in shamefully hard points under the stretch cotton. I tried to wriggle out of the long tartan sleeves of my shirt on my own, to spare his blushes, but everything clung like a freezing cold second skin and he had to help.

The shallow slash on my forearm wasn’t bleeding anymore, but each brush of his fingers felt like hot coals.

My wet garment made a slap as it struck the floor.

He draped a towel around my shoulders and another over my head. He started rubbing the water from my face and hair and scalp, his movements precise and gentle. For long moments I was buried in a soft darkness. I reached out, blind, to put my hands back on his bare ribs. I could feel his heart pounding beneath them, like a beast pacing a cage.

I have no idea when it all changed for him. When his grueling self-denial simply fell apart, like a garment worn and washed until the fabric was weakened beyond all use. All I knew was that he dropped the towel off my damp head, cupped my face in both his hands and—absolutely without warning—kissed me.

About Janine

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.

Buyer beware! If you like dark romance and a hard-won Happily Ever After, try "Cover Him with Darkness," "Heart of Flame," or "The King's Viper." If you prefer challenging erotica, go for "Red Grow the Roses" or "Named and Shamed" instead. All her other books lie somewhere on the spectrum between.
Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She's also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora's Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology 'Geek Love'.

Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and - for five years of muddy feet and shouting - as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.

Her work has been described as:

"Hardcore and literate" (Madeline Moore) and "Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love." (Portia Da Costa)

Author Links

Janine Ashbless website: http://www.janineashbless.com/

Janine Ashbless on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janineashbless

Sinful Press website: https://www.sinfulpress.co.uk



GIVEAWAY!
Make sure to follow the whole tourthe more posts you visit throughout, the more chances youll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/janine-ashbless-4/


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review Tuesday: Mother of Pearl -- #ReviewTuesday #literature #serendipity



Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes
Washington Square Press, 2000

In this world of transient fads and media hype, books endure. One can discover and enjoy a book written decades, even centuries ago. Time does not diminish the impact of a great story.

I happened on Mother of Pearl at a used book sale. It was cheap enough that I didn’t spend much time debating. I just tossed it into my basket with the other dozen volumes I’d found. I didn’t realize I’d acquired a treasure until maybe a year later, when I began reading.

Mother of Pearl is a complex, lyrical, emotionally intense novel that doesn’t really fit into any genre category. Set in the small town of Petal, Mississippi in the mid nineteen fifties, it evokes a strong sense of place. Yet at the same time the conflicts and themes Ms. Haynes explores are universal.

It’s a bit difficult to summarize the plot of Mother of Pearl. Many events occur during its 500 or so pages, but the book is driven by the characters and their interactions. Central to the book is fourteen year old Valuable Korner, the precocious daughter of the town slut and an unknown father. She has grown up with her best friend Jackson McLain, but puberty has changed their relationship, bringing dangerous and confusing desires.

Meanwhile Even Grade, a black man from the next state, settles in Petal. A serious, intelligent sort, he wins the love of local witchy woman Joody TwoSun, who lives in the forest by the creek. Joody can read people, but she can’t read Even. That’s one reason she loves him. She can see that Valuable is headed for tragedy. However, knowledge doesn’t necessarily give you the power to change someone’s fate.

Then there’s elderly Canaan Mosley, the self-educated janitor of the Petal library, who has been working for years on his “thesis”, entitled "The Reality of the Negro", and wealthy, cautious Neva, Jackson’s lesbian aunt, who lives with her frivolous partner Beatrice in a forbidding mansion near the river and nurses her secrets. And sleek, dark-skinned Grace, competent, calm, spending her life in service to white folks while nursing her own dreams. And teenaged Joleb, Jackson’s hapless sidekick, who finds a sort of wisdom in madness.

Each character in Mother of Pearl is vivid, real, and multi-faceted. Though their world could hardly be more different than mine, I felt that in some sense I understood them. As the strands of history and emotion entangle and connect them, I found myself swept along, like twigs in the River Leaf at flood.

Ms. Hayne’s prose is beautiful and evocative. She excels both at description and at dialogue. In particular, I loved her portrayal of the growing attraction between Valuable and Jackson, and its ultimate consummation. Teenage sex is a forbidden theme in erotica, of course, but perfectly permissible in literature. In this case, the book pulled me into their desperate confusion, making me feel the breathless, scary exhilaration of first love.

Mother of Pearl is not an easy book to read, categorize or review. Readers on Amazon have ranked it from puzzled or frustrated one-stars to ecstatic five-stars. The novel doesn’t flinch from darkness. It includes some violence, both human and natural. It deals with difficult topics. Although it’s a realistic book, it shimmers with hidden magic. Perhaps this is the overarching theme—that the world is simultaneously painful and full of wonder.

Really, I’m having a hard time conveying how much I loved this book, or why. I guess you need to read it yourself.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Treasure in the Montana mountains -- @ConstanceBretes #SmallTownRomance #Montana #rafflecopter


Montana mountains

By Constance Bretes (Guest Blogger)

My husband and I love to go sapphire digging, and gold panning up in the mountains behind our home. We brought property in Montana some years back, that had mining rights along the Missouri River, where we could dig for sapphires. The name of the place is Eldorado Heights Bar. There are several of these types of places in our area, there is the Spokane Bar, and The American Bar all nearby and along the Missouri River. Back in the early 1900s, miners searched for gold along the river, and as they dug, they kept finding these colored stones. Not knowing what they were, the miners cast them off to the side as the continued to dread the area for gold.

Later, it was learned that the colored stones, were indeed sapphires, rubies and garnets.

This was not the only place in Montana where you could find these gems and gold. Philipsburg, Alden, and a few other places have sapphires and gold. The town of Philipsburg was of great interest to us. It is a small, historical town and was used as a backdrop for my story, Blue As Sapphires. In the story, I changed Philipsburg to Frankenburg because I’ve added some things that Philipsburg did not have. But one area that my husband and I was very interested in was Gem Mountains. It had a mining operation there. The owners went into the mountains and dug a couple of truckloads of gravel and brought it to the base of the mountain for visitors who could either search through the gravel there or buy buckets of gravel, to dig for Sapphires. There are also claims along the Rock Creek River of gold. My love for these things found its way into my ebook, Blue As Sapphires

 

Blurb

Marissa's home was her haven, until Riley invaded her space.

Escaping from her abusive ex-husband, Marissa Simpson returns to her hometown to start over. She spends her days working at the local jewelry store, and the rest of her time is dedicated to mining along Red Rock River, searching for precious gems. Marissa has no intention of getting involved with another man, or with the community she left behind all those years ago. That is, until Riley McCade shows up.

Riley is the Sheriff of Quartz County. He loves his community and goes out of his way to protect and serve. When he meets up with Marissa, he's bound and determined to get to know her even though she insists she's not interested.

The more Riley learns about Marissa's past, the more he concludes that she may be in danger. When her ex-husband shows up, can Riley protect her? And can he earn her love in the process?

Excerpt

Hello, Sheriff. What can I do for you today?”

I thought you would have listened to me and reconsidered trying to make this place livable again.”

Nope, I’m going to try to make a go of it.”

Riley splayed his hand on the back of his neck and gave her a small smile. “You need to go to the county office and get an inspector to come out here and determine what needs to be taken care of before you make this your home. The house has to be up to code.”

And if I don’t?” she said evenly.

I’d have to serve you with a notice and remove you from the premises until the house meets the building code.”

Really,” she replied in a low voice, taut with anger. “I guess I’ll contact the inspector tomorrow and see when I can get someone out. Is that all, Sheriff?”

For now. Tell me, Marissa, how have you been?” Riley asked. “You haven’t been here
in a long time.”

I’m doing well. Thank you,” she replied icily. A suggestion of annoyance hovered in her eyes.

So, are you married? Do you have children?”

No, and no, and why?”

It seemed to Riley that Marissa was being evasive and noncommittal. She sure was an attractive woman, maybe a little too thin, but she had a lovely face and perfect rose-colored lips. Something about her piqued his interest.

I just wondered how you were. Is this the first time you’ve been back to Frankenburg since high school?”

Yes.”

What brings you back?”

I wanted to come back.” She crossed her arms over her chest.

He was aware of her annoyance, he tried to coax her into a better mood, but failed.

Marissa, if you’d like, I could make you an offer on the twenty acres of land. That would giveyou enough money to buy a nice home in town and live more comfortably than you would here.”

Why are you so bent on me leaving this house?” Marissa shot him a cold look, uncrossing her arms and squeezing her hands into fists.

I’m not bent on anything, but I told you before I think the house is dangerous to live in.”

Well, it’s my problem, so I’d appreciate it if you would mind your own business.”

Why are you so testy? We’re a tight community here in Frankenburg, you know that. We look out for each other and try to help when we can. I’m only trying to be neighborly and keep you safe.”

I’m not interested in you being neighborly and keeping me safe. I’m capable of taking care of myself, and I don’t need any help.”

All right, Marissa, but you get that inspector out here as soon as possible.” Riley’s voice was smooth, but insistent.

Yes, Sheriff.” She spat out the words contemptuously, did a mock salute, whirled around, walked into the house, and slammed the door in his face.

Buy Links




About Me

I started writing contemporary romance and contemporary romance suspense fifteen years ago, and after multiple rejections, got my first contract for Delayed Justice, released in 2014. 
 
I lives in Basin, Montana, where three feline furballs own me and my husband, and a dog that lives next door named Sara, who thinks she also lives with the Bretes family. I love the mountains that surround my home, I love basket weaving, jewelry making, and just visiting all the folks in the small community we live in.

I currently have seven books published, and a number of other ones in various stages of edits. Right now, I’m working on a new book, called Roadside Love, a murder mystery/romance in a small town in Wyoming. I have two other books that are at the end of their editing days and now at critique partners, Elkhorn In The Moonlight and Rocky River Gold. Both are small town romances.

I can be reached through the following media.

Email: bretesc [at] gmail [dot] com

Be sure to visit my webpage, navigate to the News & Things, and enter the monthly rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. Join my newsletter mailing list also at that site, and you will get my newsletter, once a month and only occasionally, anytime the rest of the month, if I suddenly have something that has come up after the newsletter was sent out.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Charity Sunday: True Colors Fund #lgbtq #homelessness #CharitySunday

Charity Sunday banner


Welcome to my December Charity Sunday! In case this is your first visit—once a month I devote my Sunday blog post to some worthy cause that needs support. I talk a bit about the charity, then share an excerpt from one of my books. Then I encourage everyone I can think of to come by and comment.

For every comment I receive, I donate one dollar to the month’s selected charity.

Doing a good deed doesn’t cost you anything but a bit of your time.

I was torn about what charity to choose this Sunday. The holiday season always makes me grateful for having a warm, comfortable, secure home. What could be more awful than being on the streets at this festive time? So I was thinking that I wanted to select a charity that’s working to combat homelessness.

At the same time, I felt like celebrating the recent Australian law legalizing same-sex marriage, by highlighting a charity working for LGBTQ rights.

I managed to find a cause that combines these issues. True Colors Fund (https://truecolorsfund.org/) is a charity co-founded by singer Cyndi Lauper to help address the problem of homelessness among LGBTQ teens. Although youth identifying as LGBTQ make up only 7% of the overall population, they constitute more than 40% of the homeless teens in America. Often these kids are forced out of their homes by families who can’t handle their alternative sexuality. Once they’re on the street, LGBTQ teens are even more vulnerable to violence, sexual exploitation and mental health issues. 

 

True Colors Fund works through advocacy, education, and youth collaboration to raise awareness of this problem and develop leadership and self-sufficiency among LGBTQ youth. During this season of sharing, I hope and pray that every person has a safe, loving home—no matter who they are.

For my excerpt, I’ve got a bit from my short holiday romance Slush, which happens to feature a homeless heroine who’s camped out in a chilly garage. Read and (I hope!) enjoy!

And as special holiday gift, I’ll send a free PDF copy of Slush to any commenter who includes his or her email address! (In addition to donating to True Colors, of course!)

Happy Holidays!



An odd sense of well-being stole over him as he propped himself against the wall, watching Daisy move around her rudimentary shelter. Her every gesture had an economical grace. With her back to him, she busied herself at a makeshift counter of planks and cinder blocks along the opposite wall. He caught the snap of a match, the chemical odor of Sterno. Her blond tresses were a shower of gold, illuminated by the single dusty bulb in the ceiling, When she stood on tiptoe to grab something off a shelf near the ceiling, her pert buttocks flexed under the red long johns. Ian mentally scolded himself as his cock twitched and filled. But what could he do? She was, quite simply, enchanting.

A heavenly aroma filled the space. Ian’s stomach rumbled. “Oh my God, that smells delicious! What is it?”

Daisy smiled over her shoulder. “Just Campbell’s tomato soup. About all I can afford these days. You want some?”

Is there enough?” He felt so guilty, craving her meager supplies.

Sure. I’ve got some crackers, too.”

She brought him a steaming bowl and a bent, stamped metal spoon. “Careful, it’s hot.” She scattered cellophane-wrapped two-packs of saltines over the blanket. “Help yourself. It’s easy to filch more from work.”

You have a job?” He dipped his spoon into the soup then blew on the hot surface. The smell reminded him of his childhood. His mom used to make tomato soup when he came in from playing in the snow.

Sure. What’d you think, I was some kind of bum? At Donut Heaven, down on Huntington Ave. Only part time, and not even minimum wage, but I get a free uniform, lunch if I don’t have a split shift, and all the day-old doughnuts I can eat. Unfortunately, they make awful doughnuts.” She gave a rueful chuckle. “But it’s a lot better than nothing!”

Seating herself cross-legged on the mattress beside him, she tucked into her soup with the single-minded intensity of someone who was famished. “I was off today, though,” she added, as if in explanation.

For a while, they savored their soup in silence. What a mystery she was – beautiful, kind, self-sufficient, living on the streets, or nearly. What was her story?

Been homeless for nearly six months now.” She spoke matter-of-factly, as if he’d asked the question aloud. “Came here last spring from West Virginia with my boyfriend Hank. Hank had folks here, an uncle who swore he’d get us good paying jobs in the hospitality industry. Turns out the uncle ran a so-called strip club up on Route 1. He’d paid Hank to bring me up here. Once I saw how things were, I ditched Hank and set out on my own.”

That was brave. Why didn’t you go back to West Virginia?”

She set down her empty bowl. “Honestly? Weren’t much down there for me either, unless I wanted to marry some jerk and pop out kids. No, I figured I’d have a better chance here in the city. I didn’t realize how hard it would be, not knowing anyone. I was willing to do pretty much any kind of legal work, but with economy in the toilet and the cost of living...”

Her head bowed, her hair falling over her face. For the first time Ian heard weariness in her voice. How could he begin to understand what this girl had been through? He’d never lacked for anything – at least not anything material.

He reached out, stroking her golden locks. He couldn’t help himself. Her hair was as silky as it looked. Daisy glanced up at him through the blond curtain, her smile returning.

How’s your head?” she asked, the brightness in her voice almost believable.

Much better.” He allowed his hand to drift to her shoulder and down her arm. She trembled when his fingertips brushed her bare skin. “Thanks to you.” He squeezed her tiny hand in his larger one. “You’re my Christmas angel, Daisy.”

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