Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Pilgrimage to Fox

By Grace Marshall (Guest Blogger)

I'd like to thank the lovely Lisabet for inviting me over to celebrate The Executive Decisions Trilogy on day eight of a blog tour that celebrates the joy of novel-threesomes.

I’m celebrating the tour by giving away two print copies of the first book of the trilogy, An Executive Decision. Enter to win at the end of this post.

A Pilgrimage to Fox

It’s about halfway between here and Long Creek.’ The gas station attendant looked at my sister and me like we were loopy for wanting to go to Fox, Oregon. It wasn’t even on the map. ‘There’s a nice café in Long Creek,’ he added. Guess he figured we might need sustenance after our pilgrimage.

We thanked the man and headed out on a lonely stretch of US highway 395 heading north toward Pendleton. We were on the edge of the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds with the Blue Mountains rising up in the distance in the east. The area is a high plain, the type of landscape not much good to anyone but ranchers and writers like me. In its desolation, sky and shadows and space stretch and bend and rise almost impossibly before the eye. And the colours! I had no idea there were so many shades of blue and kaki and golden brown. I truly was on a pilgrimage. I wanted to visit again the route that Stacie Emerson and Harris Walker, from The Exhibition, drove through the John Day Fossil Beds, taking the long way back home to Portland.

The first time I saw Fox, Oregon was last year. My sister and I were on a road-trip. We reached the summit of the pass coming in from the Long Creek side just as a rainstorm blew over. It was early spring and the huge basin below was like an ocean of gray-brown grass set below the dark sky, desolate and empty except for the little town of Fox. As we descended into the valley, the town took my breath away – not that it was particularly beautiful. It wasn’t. It wasn’t much of a town at all. I reckon that it’s just seven or eight people shy of being a ghost town.

What fascinated me was that it was in the middle of nowhere, in a desolate, yet breathtaking place. It was not a destination, nor a hub of anything. But it was there, as though it anchored the grassy basin settled amid the mountains. As we drove through, I held my breath. I felt my pulse accelerate. I felt something stir that had to do with the past and the stories lost. I could so easily imagine Harris and Stacie feeling that same thing. 


Later, after we’d returned home and settled in for dinner, I wished desperately that we had stopped. But it had been raining, so the pilgrimage to Fox was something I’d have to save for our next visit.

A year later I felt that same clench of my breath, that same quickening of pulse as we dropped down into the basin. Nothing had changed, except it wasn’t raining. The sun was shining and the sea of grass was much more kaki than grey. I got out of my sister’s car and rapidly began to take pictures of the old gas pump, of the dilapidated general store, of the barns and garages now vacant, paint peeling and boards warping. And god it was cold! It was early April. The high places in Oregon don’t tend to be warm in April, and the wind never really stops blowing. With teeth chattering and fingers like ice cubes, I kept taking picture after picture. Then we drove to the top of the rise and took more pictures. And then on an impulse, we turned the car around and went back to take even more pictures. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to memorize the town. I wanted to find the people who still lived there, the intrepid few who knew the stories, who remembered why Fox was even there. I could so easily picture the appeal of the place for Harris and Stacie.

Later, as my sister and I ate hand-patted hamburgers at the Stampede Café in the little cattle town of Long Creek, I thought about why some places stay with you long after you leave. I know that there’s a connection between land and people. There always has been. Though that connection is a reoccurring theme in the Executive Decisions Trilogy, it’s even more so in The Exhibition. The power of the land to draw us, to hold us, to drive us and to heal us is a theme that plays itself out over and over again in The Exhibition, and the same feel and what it symbolizes for Stacie and Harris, for some strange reason is strong for me in Fox, Oregon.

Blurb for The Exhibition:
Book 3 of the Executive Decisions Trilogy

Successful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?

As successful gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, finds herself in the clutches of a powerful enemy from her dark past, her growing feelings for her latest exhibitor, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, could get them both killed. Sharing her secret could destroy their relationship, but keeping it could be fatal.


The room felt stuffy and close. Because Harris seldom spent time inside when he could be out, he kept as many of the windows and doors open as he could when he was home. He’d only closed his bedroom window to keep the deluge from blowing in. He shoved back the blankets and crawled out of bed, nearly tripping over his discarded jeans. He bit back a curse then moved to open the window and let some real air in. The sky was clear and the stars now reflected off the obsidian surface of the water. The sliver of the waxing moon looked as though it were floating suspended there. He threw open the window, and for a second he stood just breathing in the cool, rain-washed air. He was about to grab the camera he kept handy to take a few night shots, then the hard-on was back with a vengeance.

Below him on the dock, wrapped in a blanket, stood Stacie, looking out over the water. And in spite of his body’s overwhelming desire for her, he felt something other than lust stirring, something that had been easing its way into his brain ever since he’d made such a fool of himself the other night at Ellis’s place. It was respect. This woman was completely at home in New York City. No one could deny that Stacie Emerson was polished to a cosmopolitan sheen. And yet the passing of a storm would draw her outside to see the world without city lights, to listen to the quiet, all the layers of quiet that were practically their own symphony outside on Harris’s lake.
Almost before he knew what he was doing, he slipped into his jeans and moved quickly on silent feet down the stairs and through the darkened house to where the French doors led to the decked balcony and then down to the dock. But just before he reached her, she dropped the blanket, and he was afforded an exquisite, if all-too brief view of her long legs, rounded buttocks and the slender curve of her back, rendered porcelain-pale in the diminished light. Then she stepped off the dock into the lapping water.

Once again, he reacted without thinking, quickly stepping out of the jeans and leaping off the end of the dock with a splash, which resulted in a squeal of surprise and a mad swirling of the water from Stacie.

It’s me,’ he manages before swallowing a good-sized mouthful of the lake as he lunged to touch her arm reassuringly. But her panicked flailing dragged them both beneath the surface. For a second he felt his own panic rising as he desperately tread water, one of his shins brushing the mooring of the dock. Then they both surfaced coughing and sputtering. ‘Stacie! Stacie, it’s me,’ he said. She clung to him, shivering and sputtering water. ‘Are you alright?’ He slipped his arms around her hips for support.

He could feel more than see her nodded response. ‘Sorry,’ she gasped. ‘I didn’t mean to drown you. I woke and the storm was finished and the stars were beautiful over the lake. I couldn’t resist. Sorry I disturbed you.’

His embarrassed laugh forced his belly and other parts of him into her delicious, totally naked, personal space. ‘You didn’t disturb me. I think if anything it’s the other way around. I interrupted your communing with nature, which is almost an unforgiveable sin in my world.’

He felt her breasts pressed hard-nippled against his chest in the little laugh of her own. ‘It isn’t necessarily a given that I wouldn’t welcome your interruption, that I wouldn’t want to share the pleasure with someone who appreciates it as much as I do.’ In her efforts to tread water, she kicked him in the thigh, but before she could apologize, he kissed her and felt her breath catch as he trapped her leg and slid it around his waist.

Harris,’ she breathed his name. ‘We can’t -- ’ But he stopped her words with another kiss and lifted the other leg so that both her thighs gripped him around his waist, his hands supporting her bottom, his legs treading to keep them both afloat.

Sh! Stacie,’ he whispered against her throat. ‘Sh.’

But we talked about a clean slate, and we said we’d --’

Maybe I don’t want a clean slate.’ He kissed her harder and to his delight, she responded in kind, curling her fingers in his hair and eating at his mouth. ‘Maybe I like our slate just the way it is. What do you think of that?’ And then he heaved her up onto the floating dock, causing her to gasp and mumble a protest that ended in a little whimper as he pulled her close to the edge, pushing and shoving her legs open until his mouth could find the warm wet depth of her, open and inviting. His tongue made an ice-cream-lick of a path up the soft, moist valley of her that yielded and tensed and yielded again to his mouth. The flavor of her was honeyed and dark and better than anything he’d ever tasted. He held her, squirming and writhing, him licking and sucking all the way up to the apex of her where he settled a heavy, hungry kiss that ended in a nip to her clit. She bucked against him and tremble all over as she tugged at his hair.

His senses were filled with Stacie, the taste of her, the scent of her, the overwhelming presence of her. It was the play of a cool breeze goose-fleshing his back that made him aware her shivering wasn’t entirely due to his sexual prowess. Reluctantly he pulled himself away from his explorations and heaved himself onto the dock. She did her part to drag him up next to her, then with both of them shivering in the cool air, she hauled her blanket over them like a tent, with him still scrambling to get another taste of her. But she wriggled and squirmed and twisted, elbowing him in the tender part of the inside of his arm before she settled and shifted so that he could feel her warm breath against his pubic hair just before she cupped his balls and took his erection deep into her mouth.

Oh, god, Stacie,’ he managed to gasp before he pillowed his head on her chilled, wet thigh and opened her legs to find his way back to her. At his first deep dive into her softness, he felt her moan against his cock, a moan he couldn’t keep from imitating against the open, enticing swell of her. The muscles low in her abdomen tensed and jerked and he could feel his belly doing the same. He could feel his thighs tensing. He could feel his buttocks clenching and relaxing as he rocked and shifted his hips with an in and out motion. The chilled shivering and the convulsive tetchy arousal they were both experiencing made their lovemaking deliciously awkward and lacking in finesse, but way too intriguing for them to consider stopping.

Buy The Exhibition Here:

About Grace Marshall/K D Grace
Grace and KD both believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about?
When she’s not writing, Grace is veg gardening. When she’s not gardening, she’s walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband have walked Coast to Coast across England, along with several other long-distance routes. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots. She also enjoys martial arts, reading, watching the birds and anything that gets her outdoors.
Grace and KD have erotica published with SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Sweetmeats Press and others.
K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, Fulfilling the Contract, The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether, and Elemental Fire, are now also available. She was nominated for ETO’s Best Erotic Author 2013 and 2014.
Grace Marshall’s sizzling hot romance novels, An Executive Decision, Identity Crisis, The Exhibition are published by Xcite Books.
Find Grace and KD Here:

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K D Grace said...

Thanks so much for having me over, Lisabet. Such a pleasure to be at yours talking about the Executive Decision trilogy. Hope you enjoyed the tour of Fox :-)

Grace Marshall xx

Lisabet Sarai said...

Welcome back to Beyond Romance! I've never been to Fox, but I know exactly what you mean about the way some places just hook you. They might not be the most beautiful places in the world, but there's some aura to them that lingers, long after you've left.

Best of luck with the book, and with the tour!

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