Friday, January 31, 2014

The History of Rough Weather

Today is release day for my new paranormal novella Rough Weather over at Totally Bound. This book is actually a sort of prequel for my novella Hot Spell, which was published way back in 2011.

Hot Spell tells the story of Sylvie, a loner drawn to the forests but forced into an urban existence for the sake of her career, and Aidan, a man hiding from the world and struggling with a terrible secret.

As the city sizzles in the grip of an unseasonable heat wave, Sylvie flees east to the pine-shrouded mountains. She doesn't mind being alone in the wilderness, but she's not the only being haunting the glades and the trails. Antisocial fire warden Aidan is fiercely attracted to the voluptuous beauty he finds sun bathing nude in a high meadow, but he must resist his overwhelming desire for the sake of her safety. The sun-bronzed man with the red-gold hair is cursed with power he knows will destroy her if they give full rein to their passion.

Of course, given that this is erotic romance, they do eventually succumb to their mutual attraction, kindling a literal conflagration that consumes everything around them.

When I began writing Hot Spell, I was pretty sure how it would end - with Sylvie coming to understand her own power, the counterpoint to Aidan's. However, much to my surprise, during the last few pages, two new characters showed up. I really didn't expect this at all, but as they walked onto the scene, I realized they'd need their own story someday.

That day didn't come for quite a while. Back in early 2012, I ran a contest for my readers. The prize was a custom story, written based on the winner's specifications. My winner, long time fan Juliana, had read Hot Spell. She suggested I tell the tale of Ondine and Marut, and asked that I throw in some BDSM, too.

I was happy to oblige.

Anyway, to celebrate the release of Rough Weather (which has been a long time coming - it was accepted in mid-2012!), I thought I'd share part of the ending from Hot Spell, where Ondine and Marut first burst from my imagination onto the page. Furthermore, I'm giving away a copy of Hot Spell to one person who leaves a comment. What I want to know is, should I write a third story in this universe, a polyamorous tale featuring all four of the Elementals? That's clearly suggested by the snippet below. Would you like to read more?


“That tickles!” she protested.

“What?” Aidan probed deeper into her sex. “This?”

“No, no—what you’re doing to my ass…”

“But I’m not doing anything…”

Another delicate touch, climbing up her hip. Sylvie opened her eyes and gasped in wonder.

A strand of some vine coiled up from behind her, brilliant green against her sooty skin. As she watched, it slithered across her flesh, sending out new shoots, bursting into clusters of emerald leaves as it travelled along her limbs. It twined around her hips, sending runners into the thicket of her sex, cascading down her belly to encircle the pillar of Aidan’s cock. Moment by moment, the delicate strands crept over their flesh, binding them together in fragile, living chains.

“What the heck…?” Aidan looked alarmed.

“It’s all right,” said Sylvie, wonder in her voice. “They won’t hurt us. Look! It’s happening everywhere.”

Indeed, the crawlers were sprouting from the soil all over the clearing, turning the blackened ground green once more. The strands wound their way around the charred remains of the trees, spiralling to the tops to explode into verdant foliage.

The light grew as sunrise neared. The rain stopped. The mist glowed around them, as though they were in the heart of an emerald.

“The earth. She’s healing herself.” Sylvie felt a deep sense of reverence.

“No,” Aidan replied, sitting up to survey the marvels around them. “I think it’s you. You’re healing the earth.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Remember what I told you? About Elementals? Not just fire? I believe that you’re an Earth Elemental, Sylvie. You can control the earth and summon growing things.”

“That’s crazy!” Sylvie shook her head. “It can’t be.”

“But it would explain so much, my love.” He grasped her hands, sending the usual thrill up her spine. “That’s why our coupling didn’t kill you. You’ve got powers, as I do. Powers you’re not aware of.”

Sylvie suddenly remembered the landslide—the peace that had come over her and then the peculiar way the earth had simply stopped moving. Had she done that?

“I’ve watched you, moving through the forest. You’re at home in nature, in a way that I’ve never seen in another woman. You belong in the forest, in the fields, on the mountaintops. I’ll bet that you hate living in the city.”

“You’re right. It’s torture. I can hardly stand it. But an Elemental? Some kind of god? What would it mean?”

“For one thing, it means the two of you can be lovers—mates.” The voice was low and musical, like a river laughing over polished stone. Aidan and Sylvie turned to see two figures emerging from the mist.

One was female, tall and willow-slender, with a complexion like moonlight and silvery hair that fell to below her waist in a shimmering cascade. The other was male, stocky and powerful, with skin like ebony and a wild, wiry, inky cloud haloing his skull. Both were naked. Both shone with an unearthly beauty.

“I am Ondine,” said the woman, answering Sylvie’s unspoken question. “And this is Marut. We were called by your coupling.”

“You’re Elementals, too.” Aidan rose, brushing off the twining lianas, and helped Sylvie to her feet. There was no question in his voice.

“Of water and air,” said Marut, stretching out his arms. A warm wind rustled the new foliage cloaking the burned-out clearing. Sylvie felt a stir of lust, mingling with her wonder. Her guilt didn’t quite manage to suppress her desire.

“We’ve been waiting for you—to complete the square, the four-way connection. Without all four elements, the world is unbalanced.” Ondine twirled on her toes, her fingers rippling, and the new leaves shed raindrops on them all. She held out her hand to Aidan. “Come, my lord of fire.”

Her lover took a step forward. A stab of jealousy made Sylvie reel. His penis was rock hard.

“Fear not, earth lady.” Marut’s voice rumbled like thunder. He stroked her bare shoulder. Her sex fluttered in some invisible breeze. “No one is going to steal your mate. He is yours, as Ondine is mine.”


Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address! And download your copy of Rough Weather today! (TB can send the book directly to your eReader, just like the big guys.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

Tomorrow is the Chinese Lunar New Year, the first day of the Year of the Horse. Since I have a release-related blog and giveaway scheduled tomorrow, I thought I'd wish my readers New Year's greetings a day early.

Chinese New Year has a different sort of tone than our western holiday. No kisses at midnight (alas, for a romance author!), no glasses of bubbly, no funny hats and noise makers. (Actually I take that back - if you consider firecrackers in the noisemaker category, there will be plenty!)

The focus of this festival is on family, including one's ancestors, and on securing good fortune for the upcoming twelve months. Red and gold decorations hang from the rafters indoors and the eaves outdoors. Lion dancers parade along the streets, beating drums you can hear from blocks away,  holding out a donation basket to passers by. The dragon-roofed temples are packed with worshippers, burning joss sticks and praying for health, prosperity and happiness.

And that's what I hope for all of you: a fulfillment of all your needs, both material and spiritual, a year of comfort, hope and plenty.

Gong Xi Fa Cai !



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Erotica Writer or Mum?

By Katy Swann (Guest Blogger)

Erotica writer or mum.  Can’t I be both?

I might try and fool myself that I’m a young, glamorous writer of kinky sex but, actually, that’s not strictly true.  The bit about writing kinky sex is true, but that’s where the fantasy ends. In reality, I’m in my forties and am a suburban housewife and mother of three.

My alter ego wakes up late morning, luxuriating in silk sheets whilst having breakfast brought to her by a hunky, dominant man.  Me?  Well, I wake at the crack of dawn, rush around like a mad thing trying to find matching socks in the laundry basket, making a big stack of sandwiches for the kids’ lunches and trying not to trip over the cats as they attach themselves to my legs until I feed them.

After hunting for lost homework, nagging the kids to eat their breakfast and then ushering them out of the house and into the car, I finally drop them at school. I take a deep breath, get back into the car and listen to the silence. Then something incredible happens - I morph from being a busy, stressed out mother into a writer of naughty, kinky fiction.

When I first started writing erotica, I decided to work away from home so I could separate real life from my fantasy world. So I became a regular at our local coffee shop (to the point where my coffee was ready almost before I walked through the door). At first, that was fine. I’d sit at my favourite table writing happily away, oblivious to the other customers.  But, as I wrote about Rachel’s first journey into submission, I became increasingly paranoid that people could read what was on my screen. So the font got smaller and smaller as the scene developed until I could barely see it myself. I kept looking behind me expecting someone to be reading over my shoulder.  Of course there wasn’t, but that didn’t stop my face turning a deep puce as I tried to look as if I were writing about something clever like derivatives or corporate law.

I’ve got myself into a nice little routine now.  I only write when the kids are at school, still at my coffee shop or at the gym. I’ll lose myself in the world of my characters, forgetting everything else. The time speeds by as I write - an hour feels like five minutes. In fact, I have to set the alarm on my phone so I don’t overrun. It’s not unusual for me be in the middle of an intense BDSM scene when the alarm goes off letting me know it’s time to go and pick the kids up from school. 

As I close my laptop, the scene is already filed away in my head as I plan what to cook for dinner. The next time I open it up though, I’m instantly back in the story, laundry, supermarkets and dirty dishes left far behind in the real world. It seems that I have no problem at all with switching from one to the other.  Writing in a public environment has definitely been my saving grace. There are no distractions, just the right level of background noise and plenty of available coffee.  Just the right ingredients for a perfect writing environment as far as I’m concerned.

There can be disadvantages to writing in public though. When I was writing To Love and Trust, the second book in the Boundaries series, one of the mums from school came up to me in the coffee shop to say hello. She saw my laptop and asked if I was happy with it as she was thinking about buying one for herself. Standing next to me, she leaned forwards to take a closer look, which was a bit unfortunate as I happened to be writing a scene where Rachel was enduring forced orgasms as a punishment.  The words on the screen were very explicit. My immediate reaction was to flick to another window but the damned laptop chose that moment to freeze. So I acted as though there was nothing untoward on the screen at all and told her about the laptop’s battery life and reliability, or rather lack of as the damn thing had just crashed on me.  I’m not sure whose face was redder by the time she thanked me and left. She never mentioned it in the playground, thank goodness.

A friend asked recently how I manage to switch from writing erotic fiction one minute to being mum the next. I’d just returned to pick my daughter up from ballet on a Saturday morning.  Every week, whilst my daughter is in her dance class, I make the most of the free time and pop into a nearby coffee shop with my laptop.  I’d just returned to pick her up and was telling my friend about a particularly sexy scene I’d just written about Frankie, my latest heroine.  Halfway though my description of the D/s scene, the girls came out of class and I immediately flicked back to mummy mode without a second thought. Poor Frankie was left tied to a St. Andrew’s cross and had to wait until Monday for her orgasm.

The only other issue I’ve had to face is what to tell the kids about the book that mummy wrote. When I got the initial email from the publisher offering me a contract for the book I was so excited that I screamed. 

“They’re going to publish my book,” I cried out to my husband. 

My son immediately threw his arms around me and said sweetly, “Does that mean it’s going to be a  real book?” 

“Yes, I replied and gave him a cuddle.

Then he said, “Great.  Can I bring it in to school to show my teachers and friends?”

Ah!  I ended up mumbling some rubbish about it being a ghost story and that it was far too scary for children to read.  Luckily he accepted my hasty answer and asked for his breakfast. As the kids get older, I know I’ll have to find a way to satisfy their curiosity.  I also know they won’t be fooled quite as easily as they are now, but I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

In the meantime, I’ve got ideas for at least another six books to be written in between trips to the supermarket, school runs and cleaning out the cat litter tray. And maybe it wouldn’t hurt to buy a few shares in the local coffee shop either.

To Love and Submit by Katy Swann

This is book one in the Boundaries serial, see the full serial listing here

Rachel Porter’s dreams of being dominated are finally about to come true.  But can she live up to the demands of a real-life Dom?
Rachel Porter is feisty, independent and horny.  Her libido is taunting her with erotic dreams of being tethered and spanked by a gorgeous, dominant man and, as a result, she decides to pursue her fledgling interest in BDSM after her trusted Rabbit gives up on her.

When she unexpectedly bumps into her sexy but demanding boss, Adam Stone, at Boundaries, an exclusive BDSM club, it seems all her dreams are about to come true.  Adam is a strict and challenging Dom and it’s not long before he has Rachel kneeling at his feet, right where she wants to be.

Rachel soon comes to crave Adam’s firm discipline, but when she becomes too flippant and deliberately provokes a spanking, she finds out that a real punishment is not as pleasurable as an erotic one.  Nevertheless, her complete surrender during these punishments takes her to new heights she never thought possible.

But Rachel also learns that one of the most important aspects of a BDSM relationship is trust, and that’s the one thing she doesn’t have. After a lifetime of betrayal, she’s not about to risk losing her heart again.

To make matters worse, when she learns that Adam’s ex-wife was, in fact, his slave, she realises that she might have to give up more than she’d bargained for if she’s to remain his submissive.


Rachel moaned indulgently as the man slid easily into her deliciously wet pussy. He was big, so very big, and as he filled her with his long, thick shaft, she wondered briefly if she could take the full length of him as he pushed himself farther into her. Just when she thought she would burst, though, he pulled slowly out and a slight hint of a smile appeared in his eyes as they commanded her to surrender to him completely. Desperate to feel him inside her again, she tried to pull him back, begging him with her eyes to take her. Just as she raised her hips urgently towards him, he plunged deeply back into her, filling her completely and making her cry out with pleasure.

“Good girl,” he growled, “let me hear you scream.”

“Yes, Sir,” she cried, knowing he would be expecting her to respond and, as she did so, he rewarded her with a harder, deeper thrust. She wanted to touch him so badly, to run her fingers along his perfect, muscular body and, in a desperate attempt to get closer to him, she tugged at the cuffs that bound her wrists to the rail at the head of the bed. She soon forgot about them, though, as she felt a sharp slap on the side of her thigh and the desperate need in her intensified as her body responded with a delicious shudder.

“Again?” His voice was rich and deep, and behind the hard line of his lips lurked a smile that promised more delights to come.

“Yes please, Sir,” she whispered, her voice now hoarse with emotion and lust.

“Pardon? I didn’t hear you.” Another slap and her body quivered uncontrollably in response to the hot sting his hand left on her buttock.

“Yes, yes, yes…” she cried. But then, devastating reality began to force its way into her consciousness as she slowly woke from her dream. “Yes… Oh, shit!”

She sat up in her bed, painfully alone and very aroused. Shit, it had felt so real, his voice, his body, everything. She rubbed her wrists, fully expecting the marks from the cuffs to be visible but, of course, there were no marks, no cuffs and no gorgeous man demanding her compliance.

Rachel sighed, resigned once more to gratification thanks to her trusted and reliable Rabbit. As she reached under her bed, she tried to conjure up the image of the strong lover who had just been ravishing her in her dream. This was the fifth time she had had this dream, always with the same man, and yet she could never recall his face once she woke. No matter how hard she tried, he remained an elusive fantasy only willing to appear in her sleep.

She moved her hand down under her duvet and quickly checked that she was nice and wet for her battery operated lover. Yep, she was definitely ready and she quickly slipped the cold, hard device into her wetness then flicked the switch. Nothing happened. She pulled it out again and fumbled with the various settings, but still it remained stubbornly silent and still.

Shit, shit and double shit, the fucking batteries were dead. This was not a good start to the day, she thought, as she reached down to finish with her fingers.

Half an hour later, she stomped into the kitchen, now showered and dressed, and grunted a half-hearted greeting at her flatmate, Mandy.

“What’s the matter with you?” asked her friend with a smirk. “From what I heard, you should be grinning like a Cheshire Cat.”

Rachel stared at Mandy in shock. “What?”

“Sweetie, the walls are very thin in this flat, in case you didn’t know. Either you’ve got a secret lover hidden away in that room of yours, or you’ve been playing with your bunny again.” Mandy winked at her and handed her a cup of fresh coffee.

Rachel sighed. “I had that dream again, you know, the one where this gorgeous man straps me to the bed and has his wicked way with me? Well, it’s getting more intense.” She took a sip of her coffee and felt a shiver run through her body as she remembered the feel of the cuffs holding her arms above her head. It had felt so incredibly sexy, and yet she wasn’t normally into kinky stuff like that, so it didn’t make sense that she’d be having such erotic dreams about it. The trouble was, now that the idea was so firmly planted in her head, she couldn’t stop thinking about it and the more she thought about it, the more the idea of being tethered to a bed and at the complete mercy of a strong, dominant man excited her.

Mandy stuck some bread in the toaster and came to sit next to Rachel at the small kitchen table. “What you need, my friend, is a man. One who’s into the same kinky sex as you.”

“I’m not into kinky sex. Just because I’ve had a few weird dreams about being tied up doesn’t turn me into a bloody Dominatrix.”

“Of course not,” Mandy looked at Rachel as if she was stupid. “A Dominatrix is the one who does the tying up. You like to be tied up, which makes you the submissive.”

Rachel nearly choked on her coffee. “I am not a submissive. I’ve never been tied up in my life for God’s sake!”

“Except in your dreams.” Mandy got up to retrieve the hot toast as it popped up. “All I’m saying is, you’ve obviously got this hot fantasy and there’s no smoke without fire and all that shit. Toast?”

Rachel took a slice of the slightly blackened toast and stared at it absently. “Yeah, but the way I’m going I’ll never meet anyone and, even if I did, they’d probably run a mile if I hinted that I might want to experiment with a bit of bondage.”

Mandy chuckled. “I wouldn’t count on it. Most single, straight men would jump at the chance of tying up a gorgeous woman and fucking her senseless.”

Rachel laughed at her friend’s rather crude but probably accurate statement. “Well, I don’t know any single, straight men, except for Mike Jones at work.” Mike was the Facilities Manager who had been harbouring a crush on her for months. He was very sweet, but middle-aged, overweight and had a serious BO problem.

Mandy’s eyebrows shot up. “You have got to be joking! Okay, babe, we’ve got to get you sorted before you end up shagging the likes of Mike Jones.”

“Yes, but how? There’s no way I’m going to some seedy club to pick up a complete stranger.” Taking a bite of the toast, Rachel shrugged. “Even if I was that desperate I wouldn’t want the risk of picking up some nutter.”

To Love and Submit: ebook
To Love and Submit: print

About Katy

Katy Swann is in her forties and lives near London, UK with her husband, three children and two cats.

When she isn't writing about strict, sexy Doms putting their strong-willed subs in their place, she likes to read about them. As well as writing, Katy spends her time trying to avoid the housework, keeping the kids from killing each other and drinking copious cups of coffee in the local coffee shop. Coffee and chocolate are the two things that keep her sane and focused, so they're often close by when she sits down to write.

To Love and Submit is her first erotic novel, which will be closely followed by To Love and Trust and To Love and Obey, which will complete the Boundaries trilogy.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Like It Long

I just finished, for an assigned review, a collection of very short erotic tales. None was more than 1200 words, and some were even shorter. The experience made me realize that when it comes to my own reading, I prefer longer as opposed to shorter works, both for stories and for novels.

In fact very few of the contributions in this book were stories at all, at least by my definition. The bulk would be better categorized as sexual vignettes, with little if any character development, conflict or resolution. Am I asking too much for a thousand or so words? I don't think so. A glorious handful of the collection's authors did in fact succeed in creating a world with believable people facing plausible dilemmas and finding satisfying solutions. Which ones? That will be in my review, to appear in February at Erotica Revealed.

I recognize that it's a true challenge to craft a narrative arc in so few words. I certainly would have difficulty accomplishing that feat myself. I've tried my hand occasionally with "quickies" (you can find one effort here on my website), and believe me, the task made me sweat. In fact, I had to write a longer story first, then edit out every word I could spare. Not much fun!

When I'm deeply immersed in a great book, I want it to never end. Many of  my all-time favorite reads are hundreds of pages long. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. More recently I devoured Anathem by Neal Stephenson and IQ84 by Haruki Murakami, both well over a thousand pages long. Oh, and the fabulous The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, by Gordon Dahlquist (700+ pages) and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (500+ pages). I love meaty, complex novels that drag me away into a different universe. My excitement about starting a new book is often proportional to its length.

With short stories, I feel much the same way. There's a trend in many erotica anthologies these days to limit the length to 3000 words per story. I much prefer a range of lengths. Sometimes you want a snack, but at other times what you crave is a three or four course meal, with a variety of flavors and textures - a story that leaves you feeling satiated.

I suppose conciseness is one aspect of craft. Certainly, I've found that when I have to cut things, my work has a significant amount of fat. Still, I don't enjoy writing really short tales,any more than I like reading them.

Most of the short stories I've written for anthologies fall in the 4000-6000 word range, with some getting up as high as 8000. When I don't have a word limit, I let the story itself tell me how long it needs to be. When I do have a word limit, I often struggle, with too many ideas to fit into the allocated space.

My romance publisher Totally Bound, on the other hand, creates anthologies where each contribution is between 10,000 and 15,000 words. They call these "stories", even though the tales have multiple chapters and scenes. I find these to be rather strange beasts, hybrids between short story and novella, and frequently, I have trouble writing them.

I know better than to rush the development of a narrative. I need to give my characters time to discover one another and to realize the obstacles keeping them apart. This gradual approach comes back to bite me. All too often I find myself running out of words long before I've run out of story. I've had several reviewers comment that a tale of mine seemed to end too abruptly. I can sympathize. I had to wrap things up long before I, or my protagonists, were really ready.

So maybe I should stick to novels. The longest things I've written are in the 80K region. That seemed a nice, natural length for me. The book I'm trying to finish right now, Her Secret Weapon, will probably be about 60K, because that's what the publisher requested, but I suspect that left to my own devices, it would turn out to be longer. 

I don't know. Maybe I'm just wordy. On the other hand, maybe it's just that I believe you can never have too much of a good thing!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Samantha Lytton's Rules for Living

By Lucy Woodhull (Guest Blogger)

Hi there, I’m romantic comedy author Lucy Woodhull, and I thank Lisabet once again for having me on the blog. I visited a while ago to chat about the first book in my Samantha Lytton rom-com series, THE DIMPLE OF DOOM. And much like a book sequel, I’m back, baby, to talk about, well, the sequel! It’s called THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK, and it’s better than Han Solo and Princess Leia making out.

Ok, it’s not. Nothing is that good. Sigh.

Here’s a blurb for the series:

The Samantha Lytton Series: Obviously, the solution to a failed acting career and depressing dating desert is to take up with a dimpled art thief, get chased by thugs, lie to the police and almost die.

That's not what Samantha Lytton thought would happen when she kissed the guy who said he was an accountant at the office Christmas party. But in her defense -- it was an amazing freaking kiss. The kind of lip-lock that frustrates you in the wee hours.

Turns out, thinking with your nether regions can lead to poor decisions. Or perhaps...fantastic ones. Samantha and her burglar travel from Los Angeles to Vegas to Paris to London on adventures that bring Samantha's wildest dreams of stardom to fruition. After spending years falling on her face, she learns to fight for herself and her heart's desire. You can't choose who to love, but you can try to keep his cute butt out of jail and in your bed.

No matter where in the world you go, or how many hot movie stars you kiss (um, professionally), you never forget your first criminal. Hopefully, only criminal. Although bad boys with dangerous dimples are nothing but trouble, a relationship can still work as long as the goons don't get you. And if they do, well, at least an actress is good at improvisation.

My heroine Samantha often finds herself in a heap of trouble. It’s not her fault, unless you count her propensity to fall for a certain art thief. He has a really nice butt, which has led many an otherwise sane woman off the garden path and naked into the shrubbery.

Over the course of her adventures, she has learned many things about the nature of the universe, the things that money can buy, and hot oral sex. With the lofty spirit of knowledge in mind, I present to you her rules for living a successful life. Or at least an interesting one. These all come from the DIMPLE books (although I cheated and added a couple from book three, which hasn’t come out yet!)

The last one means a lot to me, and as soon as I wrote it, I knew that it would be something I’d always try to remember. Even when dark times come in life, we are each the person who comforts ourselves, who lifts our body back up again, brushes off the ol’ keister, and gets going. And most of us don’t give ourselves credit for being our own heroine! But we are, and, yup, we’re all freaking amazing. Even when we forget that we are.

Excerpt: THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK by Lucy Woodhull

The deets: I present you with a love triangle. (In the book, it turns into the dreaded love parallelogram, which is extremely complex -- I do not recommend.) Here’s the setup: Samantha and Danny Zhang (insanely hot British movie star) are in London to film a heist caper called What Could Go Wrong? After a long night of shooting, they go out to breakfast to the Princess Margaret. Samantha’s ex, Sam (be-dimpled art thief), invites himself along. He’s in town posing as Samantha’s assistant named Zach. (Got it? There’s a quiz after.)

* * *

We three grabbed a booth in the back. Through some sort of dark wizardry, Sam arranged it so that he sat between me and Danny in the curved seat. As he bumped my hip to scoot in next to me, he smiled, grim satisfaction in his tightly-set mouth. I remembered I’d told him that me and Danny were doing the hump-de-hump. I smirked at him with a challenge of my own. He thought he would separate me from my international movie star, whom I enjoyed for good reasons and not because it irritated him?

Oh, was he wrong.

So, so wrong.

We settled in, dispensing awkward, pleasant smiles all round. A middle-aged, cheery waitress took our orders of three full English breakfasts, with mimosas to start. I wasn’t sure those things went together, but when in the Princess Margaret…

And when you’re sitting at one point of an actual, physical love triangle…

Never in history had three people reached for champagne glasses with such speed. Danny bounced the ball and launched the first volley. “So, Zack—how long have you been Samantha’s assistant? Are you enjoying London?”

Sam settled back and spread out his arms. His fingers crept toward my shoulder, but I leaned sideways to search for something pretend in my purse. “I’ve worked closely with Samantha for a little over a year now. I like to stay on top of her.” He chuckled, and I snapped my head up. “You’ve got to ride these artist-types, or else they go off, half-cocked. Know what I mean?”

Danny played with his napkin, clearly having no idea what Sam meant.

He’s been to London before,” I added to shut Sam the hell up. “I thought today went really well. We made up for some of the scenes we got behind on last night.”

My adorable co-star winked at me adorably. “It helped that no one tried to destroy the museum tonight.”

I did so try! I may be clumsy, but I’m not a quitter.” I’d had a bit of an ‘oops’ encounter with a Plexiglas box containing Roman coins while suspended above it by a crane. There’s a steep learning curve to high-wire flying. Could happen to anyone.

Leaning forward on the table, Danny said, “They really ought to find a way to secure your zipper. If it continues sliding downward when you run, we’ll be making soft-core porn.”

I giggled and tossed my hair. “It’s so gentlemanly of you to avert your eyes, the way you do sometimes.”

His chuckle curled around us, warm and soft, and caused Sam to utter a sound like that of a wounded moose. Sam tried to cover by draining his drink.

Did you hear about that fifty-car pileup in Edinburgh?” Actual crickets chirped after Sam said this.

I’m going to visit the ladies’ room,” I announced, as thoughts of peeing were preferable to giant car accidents. I scooched out of the booth and gave Danny a cheery, obvious shoulder squeeze on the way. The moose-gurgling noise haunted me all the way to the toilet.

Upon my return, I enacted my plan. I headed straight for Danny and sat on the few inches of booth on the end beside him. “Care for some company?” Quick as a horny bunny, he moved to let me in. Now the three of us jammed together in one-half of the booth, for Sam refused to move. Since we were so close, I put my arm around Danny’s shoulders and began recounting a funny thing our director had said today. Sam’s eyes glowed like molten darkness, and he inched away from us without breaking his hostile regard.


A fresh round of mimosas arrived, thank goodness. Danny didn’t even seem to think that me being so cold to Sam was weird, for he stared at my ex as if he were leprous, or perhaps suffering from a disease of the brain. I’d never seen Sam so awkward—he could normally win a charm competition from two counties away with one dimple tied behind his back.

Sam took a deep breath, drained half of his fresh glass and said to Danny, “What’s next for you, Daniel? After What Could Go Wrong?

Ah, an actual thing a human being might say! He was fighting dirty now.

I’ll shoot a film adaptation of Midsummer Night’s Dream next year, but I think I might take some time off the latter half of this year. Reconnect with real life.” Danny glanced at me ever so briefly. “Remember what’s it like to see friends, relatives. Maybe even date a little.”

That’s just crazy enough to work,” I said.

I hope so.”

A whole mess of subtext rippled beneath those three words, and a wave of guilt washed over me. I had exactly no reason to feel guilty, but the raw, pained lines on Sam’s face and the tense cords of his neck made my innards recoil. A full minute of silence descended. Danny bit his lip and shot me a warm look, which I returned. It wasn’t his fault that Sam and I had enough history to fill a college textbook.

The food arrived, smelling wonderful and large enough to feed, well, a ploughman. Holy crap, these English could embarrass even an American breakfast—there was sausage, ham, hash browns, eggs, tomato, mushrooms, beans and something black and circular. “What is that?” I asked Danny.

Black pudding. It’s good—try it.”

What’s it made of?”

Sam cracked his first real smile of the day. “Don’t tell her until she tries it.”

I froze. “Now I’m afraid.”

Don’t be.” He leaned in and locked onto my eyes. “You’ll like it. You like anything having to do with meat.” The way he imbued meaning into ‘meat’ made me straight-up blush. My entire face heated, and the fire spread south until I tingled in a way that no lady should at breakfast.

To conceal my overheated everything, I was forced to try the mystery meat. He’d practically dared me, anyhow. It tasted salty, crumbly—a richness on my tongue that lingered. “Mmmmmm,” I offered to all and sundry. This pleased both men greatly.

It’s congealed blood,” Sam said.

I stopped a fresh bite halfway to my mouth. But then I thought…is blood any different from meat? The second bite tasted better than the first. I fancied I could detect the tang of blood. It made me feel…metal. Powerful. As if I were a queen who devoured my enemies’ hearts and washed them down with champagne. And then went home to her castle to find her two husbands awaiting her. One with a dimple, and the other with an honest smile that warmed the heart…

Perhaps I read too much into pudding.

I couldn’t help my laugh at Sam getting my goat, and he cocked one eyebrow at his win before he tucked into his own food. When I turned to Danny, I found him watching me hazily. I blushed anew.

Why couldn’t I just have both? I decided I needed to find myself a romance novel that ended with a duchess and her two stable boys living happily ever after. Perhaps I’d produce the movie based on the book…

My breakfast grew cold while I was woolgathering dirty thoughts. Not the first time that had happened.

* * *

You can learn about both books in more detail, and read excerpts here.  Drop me a comment below and share your hard-won life lessons to win a chance to win digital copies of my books!

Book One: THE DIMPLE OF DOOM -- Available in print and digital from:  Totally Bound, Amazon,, B&N, Sony, Kobo / Excerpt here.

Book Two: THE DIMPLE STRIKES BACK -- Available in print and digital from: Totally Bound, Amazon,, B&N, Sony, Kobo / Excerpt here.

Thank you for reading, and for Lisabet for having me!

Lucy Woodhull has always loved le steamy romance. And laughing. And both things at the same time, although that can get awkward. Her motto is "Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you'll short-circuit your Kindle." That's why she writes funny books, because goodness knows we all need to escape the real world once in a while. She believes in red lipstick, equality, and the interrobang. Hailing from Southern California, she daydreams with her husband and a very fat cat who doesn't like you.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Snog #110: Nasty Business

I've got something a bit filthier than usual for you this Sunday, an oral excerpt from my  novel Nasty Business. This book has a harder edge than some of my books. Although my heroine Ruby and her nemesis Rick ultimately realize they're made for one another, there's a lot of delicious dirt strewn along the path to their happy ending.

All's fair in lust and business

Ruby Maxwell Chen, the beautiful and ruthless CEO of a huge British business empire, is used to getting her way. When she encounters American entrepreneur Rick Martell, though, she wonders if she hasn't finally met her match.

From the trendy clubs of London to the Hollywood Hills, Ruby and Rick compete for ownership of a strategic factory in Malaysia. Neither has any qualms about using sexual wiles to smooth the path to success.

Neither anticipates that their mutual attraction will turn into something more intense and difficult to control.


Once you've recovered from my snog, head back to Blisse Kiss Central for more oral delights!

We are in a taxi now, in the semi-private darkness, and his hands are all over me. I don’t worry about the driver. What is there that a London cabbie has not seen? I teeter between enjoyment and terror. Oh, I want this stranger, but surely, it must be on my terms.

He brings my hand down between his thighs, and I feel triumph. Finally, he is erect, he wants me. He unzips his trousers and looses his cock. “I’d like you to suck me,” he says. There is a trace of irony in his voice. “Assuming that you are feeling generous, of course.”

I hate him, his overwhelming sensuality, his casual superiority. Normally, I will not perform fellatio. I find it degrading and subservient. But his engorged penis gleams in the transient street light, infinitely attractive. Saliva gathers in my mouth at the prospect. I am actually hungry to swallow his rod.

He is watching me, as the passing lights first illumine me, then throw me into shadow. He feels my hesitation. “Go on,” he says. “You know you want to.”

Recklessness and desire. He is right. This is only a one night stand. I should follow my heart, body, whatever. I straddle him as he lays back on the bench seat, arrogantly thrusting my arse in his face. No kneeling before my master, not for me. His penis bobs in front of me, inviting, almost taunting.

I decide to taunt him in return. I begin with the lightest of touches, just a tease, the tip of my tongue on the sensitive knob. I am rewarded by a faint moan. His swollen member twitches, nearly hitting me in the face. Carefully, I trace the ridge below the bulb, delighting in the smoothness, and the tension underneath.

His cock strains toward me, seeming to beg for the warm depths of my mouth. But I continue to tease, licking, nipping, tracing the veined length of him with my tongue, but not letting him into me.

I feel his fingers between my legs, and realize that he has decided to tease me in retaliation. So be it. I am grateful for any touch there. The more I sample his cock with my tongue, the more I want to feel that swollen bulk deep in my sex. It is not the longest, nor the thickest, nor the hardest cock I have ever encountered. But like its owner, it glows with some kind of sexual energy. I can feel the vibrations when I bring my lips close to kiss the tip. Still, though, I resist the urge to engulf him, to feast on him until he cannot bear the pleasure. That is what he wants, I know, and for that, he will just have to wait.

“Come on, Ruby,” he says, his voice husky, persuasive. “Don’t be shy. I know that you’ve sucked cock before. Open up!"

It does not register, the fact that he knows my name. Hardly, surprising, because at that moment, I am impaled. Until now, the most delicate, fleeting caresses, making my body scream for more. Now, suddenly, there is something hard and smooth in my cunt, sliding in and out of my slippery cleft and bringing a scream to my lips, despite my determination to remain in control.

He takes advantage of my gaping mouth. As I gasp for breath, struggling to comprehend and control my reactions, his rigid penis slips between my lips. Silk over granite. Hot blood pulsing. A tremor takes me as he thrusts simultaneously, deep in my throat, deep in my sex. I am skewered on these two points of pleasure.

I suck hard, in rhythm with his thrusts. I thought that I was horny before, but now it is a hundred times worse – or better. I grind my hips furiously down on whatever he is using to penetrate me. Harder, deeper, closer to the swelling ache buried in my flesh.

Meanwhile his cock throbs hot against my tongue. I taste salt, catch the slightly musty scent of his balls. I am astonished by my hunger for his maleness. Eagerly, I lick, suck, nibble, open myself until I almost choke on him. Lost in sensation, for long minutes I do not think to wonder: if his cock is my mouth, what is this between my legs?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who Needs Whips & Chains?

By L.M. Brown (Guest Blogger)

When it comes to torture I am of the firm opinion that many of us could rival the Marquis de Sade when it comes to inflicting pain on our characters.

Unlike most conventional torturers, we use nothing more than our overactive imaginations and the written word to put our characters through hell.

There are authors who write about actual torture in the sense of whips and chains, sometimes with a mind to actually causing their character physical pain, as opposed to having a little fun in the bedroom, dungeon playroom, or wherever else the mood takes them, but I’m not talking about those.

Nor am I talking about those authors who write about the BDSM genre, where the submissive in the relationship wants to feel the snap of the whip against their body.

No, I am here to chat about how we, as authors, regularly drag out characters through hell for your entertainment.

Emotional Trauma

Firstly there are those of us who make sure to inflict some emotional crisis on a character. You know the type – the brief moment of happiness, right before it all goes to hell – and the long struggle back to the happy land of romantic bliss.

Physical Pain

Then there are those who cause our poor characters to have accidents, adding physical pain to the abuse we heap on them.

Many authors even go the extra step and inflict an illness on our characters, preferably something potentially life-threatening, though of course a good author could give most male characters the common cold, have them profess to be dying and make it believable. “It’s not a cold, it’s the flu. It’s not a migraine, it’s a brain tumour.” I’m sure you all know someone like that!

Paranormal Possibilities

We don’t just make the characters suffer through the regular day to day hassles either. Oh no, those of us who venture into the paranormal genre quickly discover we can add even more torture on our characters when we give it a little thought.

The possibilities are endless. If you think your character isn’t suffering enough, make sure they are. You have a werewolf character who has it a little too cushy? Why not make the monthly transformation one of utter pain?

Death won’t stop the Torture

If a character has it way too easy, an angel with immortality on their side for example, let’s strip them of their wings and make them mortal. If you’re really cruel you can kill them off too. After all, as an author in the paranormal genre you can always bring them back again. Why should their torture end with their death?

Benji, a character from my very first published story was a ghost throughout the book. Having him die a virgin was probably one of my cruellest moments, though ensuring he and his lover could only touch one night a year runs at a close second.

Emotional pain, physical pain, a combination of them both, the possibilities are endless, and as authors we pull out all the stops when we put our characters through the ringer.

But why do we do it?

Well, dear readers, we do it for you, of course. Hmm, I wonder if that makes you accessories to our crime of character torture…

In my opinion, making those characters work for their happy ever afters means a better story than if everything was easy right from the start. If something is worth having, then it’s worth working and fighting for. When it comes to my characters, they certainly do need to earn their happy endings.

Zak, the alien half of my latest novel is certainly tortured a lot more than most. You see Zak has never had a human body or human emotions before. Oh the fun I had with that possibility.

I went out of my way to inflict on him every emotion I could – the good and the bad. I even added more for extra variety during one of the rounds of edits. After all, if he wants to have a happy ever after with the love of his life then he needs to know all about human emotions. Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

And as if that wasn’t enough, I also had a great deal of fun in introducing Zak to his new human body and the various possibilities that are now open to him. When you come from a race of beings who are reproduced in laboratories rather than through sex, having a body with parts that seem to have a mind of their own, brings a completely new set of problems with it.

Read on below for a short excerpt of just how Zak handles getting his first erection.

Yes, I am cruel to my characters, and I hope my readers agree that we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Zak, an alien from the planet Trimmeron, is a member of a race of beings who transform into other species during their years of puberty. It’s customary for the youngsters to be fostered to the worlds native to their new forms, to study and learn about the races who will play an important part in their lives.
When Zak turns into a human, it comes as a surprise to everyone, for only one other before him has ever done so. Nevertheless he is sent to Earth, a world he views as primitive and barbaric. He arrives with a chip on his shoulder and attitude to spare. He does not believe that anyone on Earth could have anything to teach him.
When Zak meets college student Sam he soon discovers he has a lot to learn, not only about humans, but also about himself.
Trapped on an unfamiliar world and in a strange body that seems to have a mind of its own, Zak has no idea what is happening to him—only that Sam seems to be the key to the strange afflictions he is suffering from.
But can an alien find love with a human being?


The lights were already down when they made their way to a pair of seats near the back of the room. Sam sat down first and Zak took the seat near the aisle.

“You’ll really enjoy this,” Sam whispered as the big screen in front of them played a commercial for some kind of vehicle.

Zak whispered back to Sam that he was sure he would.

As the film played on the screen, Zak began to feel rather strange. There was something happening down there and it was totally out of his control. He shifted in his seat and tried to change his position so it wasn’t as obvious.

Sam laughed at something happening up on the big screen in front of them. The sound sent a zing right through Zak’s body, culminating in an uncomfortable tightening of his jeans. This had been happening to him quite a lot recently, but not to this extent.

Zak tried to concentrate on the movie, but it wasn’t holding his attention as it had before. His awareness of Sam heightened with every minute.

“Are you okay?” Sam whispered.

Zak groaned as Sam’s warm breath against his ear added to the problem down below.

“Fine,” Zak hissed.

Sam took him at his word and dipped his hand into the big tub of popcorn. At the touch of Sam’s fingers brushing against his own, hidden in the confectionery, Zak sank even lower into his seat as he tried to figure out what was happening to him.

Sam put a handful of popcorn into his mouth and started to chew. When Sam placed a hand on Zak’s thigh the pain in his groin became unbearable and he shot up from his seat. “I’ve got to go,” he said, causing several other people in the cinema to shush at him.

He didn’t wait for Sam to reply. He grabbed his jacket and bolted for the exit.

Buy Links
Available from Totally Bound

By the time this post goes live it will also be available at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble and other online stores.


L.M. Brown lives in England, in a quaint little village that time doesn't seem to have touched. No, wait a minute—that's the retirement biography. Right now she is in England in a medium sized town that no one has ever heard of, so she won't bore you with the details. Keeping her company are numerous sexy men. She just wishes that they weren't all inside her head.

L.M. Brown loves hearing from readers so don't be shy.


Where to find L.M. Brown
Twitter - @LMBrownAuthor

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inside Meredith Russell

By Meredith Russell (Guest Blogger)

Firstly, thank you to Lisabet for inviting me, as a new author with Totally-Bound, over to her blog.

So, a little introduction. My name is Meredith Russell. I’m 32 years old, my favourite colour is purple, I have a goldfish called Romeo, I love cheese but hate tomatoes, and I live in Staffordshire in the UK with my husband whom I met at university. I have a degree in mathematics and was a teacher before opting for a change of career last summer. I now balance the two sides to my new job being both an author and also a cover artist.

Why I write.

I love stories. I love reading them or watching them unfold on the TV and through movies. Sometimes it’s exactly what we need – escapism from the real world. I like angst and drama and horror, but I also like happy endings. I like a love story and the whole idea that ‘love finds a way and conquers all’. My brain is full of random stuff and writing allows me to get those ideas down and beat them with a stick (with my editors help) into a story and something I believe is good enough to send into a publisher. I actually feel sometimes that I have to write otherwise I’ll go insane. I have all these snippets of ideas and voices (not in the crazy way) inside my head and I just need to get them down on paper. Writing makes me happy and I’m proud and feel privileged to have been given the opportunity from my publishers to have my stories out there for people to read.

Why I write gay romance is a question often asked by my curious friends on learning of my change in career. I find it hard to come up with some profound answer. It’s a genre I enjoy reading, I’ve always rooted for gay couples in TV shows and films and I guess that’s it – most gay relationships are shown as having to overcome greater odds and prejudice to get their happy ever afters. And though I’m all for equality of the sexes, it also puts both partners in a relationship on the same level. Plus, yeah I’m pretty shallow, two men kissing and in love makes me happy.

The ideas behind my stories are inspired by all sorts of things. It could be from something I’ve watched or read, a song, things my friends have said or people I’ve met. Little seeds of a scene or conversation that then bloom into characters and their stories. It’s crazy how the ideas grow and characters almost take on a life of their own as they play out this story inside my head. I’m still surprised sometimes at the directions their stories take and who they actually develop and become as a person in my books. But yeah, inspiration is everywhere.

Though I am a new author to Totally-Bound, I do have a handful of books already published elsewhere. They are all M/M and range in heat levels, some are straight forward love stories, others I have written based on my other love for horror and paranormal tales. Some of my stories are quite dark, but at the heart of them they are about bringing two men together and having them fall in love despite everything.

Latest Release and Giveaway

SavingMr Fox was released at the start of the month with Totally-Bound. For a chance to win yourself a copy, just leave a comment to this post with your email address and I’ll pick a winner at the end of Sunday.


How can you hope to find love if you cannot love yourself?

Eric Fox is an actor faced with his most difficult role yet—being himself. Seven years ago, on the way to his high school prom, an accident drove him from the arms of his young love, CJ. Eric ran away to LA, and CJ was left to pick up the pieces of his broken heart and broken life.

Guilt and regret has eaten away at Eric since that day, leading him to turn to the darker side of celebrity—to sex and alcohol. On a downward spiral and after a series of bad choices, Eric makes the difficult decision to return home. But returning home and having to spend two weeks with the man he left behind could be an obstacle Eric is nowhere near ready to face.

Can Eric find the strength to ask for CJ's forgiveness? And more importantly, can he find the courage to forgive himself?


There was a gentle knock on the stall, and Eric was surprised to hear CJ’s voice from the other side of the door.

Are you okay?” CJ sounded concerned.

Eric didn’t say anything straight away. Instead, he sat on the washroom floor and stared at CJ’s shadow under the locked door. CJ wanted to know if he was he okay? He hadn’t been okay in a long time.


Getting to his feet, Eric flushed the toilet and wiped roughly at his face. The taste of the tuna salad he’d had for brunch lingered across his tongue.

You can do this.

Exiting the stall, he briefly met CJ’s eyes as he crossed to the sink and washed his hands. He could feel CJ watching him and he tried to remember the colour of his eyes.

Eric, I…” It was clear neither of them knew what to say.

Turning off the water, Eric turned around and leaned back against the metal trough. He looked CJ up and down as he worried his lower lip. The man looked good. “I didn’t know you’d be here,” Eric said.

CJ folded his arms across his chest. He looked uncomfortable. “And if you had?”

If he had, he would have run in the opposite direction. “I don’t know,” Eric said, accompanied with a humourless laugh. “It was my agent’s idea. He thought getting involved with some voluntary work would… make me look less of a jerk,” he added honestly, though CJ didn’t seem to appreciate the gesture.

You’re honestly telling me you had no idea?”

Eric shook his head. “My PA, Marcus, the guy outside, he printed this list and I just… I thought…” Fuck. This was a mess.

You thought what?”


The West Grove Sports for Kids Project was the fourth one down on the first page of the printed list. The description was brief—encouraging and enabling kids of all ages to take part in sport, from track to soccer, from the fun of a sack race to serious competitions. If anyone asked, Eric was ready to claim how he needed to stay busy and active. What better way to stay busy than burying himself in entertaining a bunch of school kids on Spring Break? Obviously, that wasn’t quite the whole story. He just figured where he had failed CJ, maybe he could help another teenager realise his dream and sporting potential.

CJ shook his head impatiently. “This isn’t a game, Eric. I need to know if I can count on you.”

Of course,” Eric said quickly. “I just want a chance.” There was doubt and concern in CJ’s hazel eyes. He obviously wondered if he could trust Eric.

Anything. I’ll do anything.”

You really want to do this?”

Yes.” He did. Or at least he thought he did. His knees felt weak and he thought he was going to vomit again, but he was pretty sure he wanted to give it a go at the centre.

You screw this up—”

I won’t.”

CJ was clearly hesitant to accept Eric’s offer of help. “You turn up on time and you do exactly what I or my staff say. You get involved in everything.”

Of course,” Eric agreed. He needed to get involved. His body and his mind needed to be kept occupied if he had any chance of not going completely insane. He looked at CJ. Could he really be near this guy every day for the next two weeks?

I don’t know what exactly happened in LA, and I don’t care. Those are your issues. But you don’t bring them here. So, no drink, no drugs, no screwing my staff, and no cursing in front of the children, regardless of what comes out of their mouths. You are professional, and you pretend you’re having fun and enjoying spending time with these kids even if you hate every single moment.”

Eric could think of nothing to do other than simply nod. Wow, CJ had certainly laid it all out there for him.

Okay. I suggest you go home and prepare yourself for a day’s work tomorrow. I need to run it by the parents and speak to Ned about running a check.”

Ned?” Eric laughed. “He still down at the station?”

CJ nodded. “Yeah, he’s due to retire next year. He still has the moustache and smells like cabbage. Remember?”

Homemade soup,” they said together and laughed, and suddenly the atmosphere between them seemed a lot lighter.

Is there anything I should know before I have him run a check on you? It’s kids, after all.”

Eric understood. “No. No record. No debt. No anything.” Sure, he felt like a criminal half the time and he’d dabbled in drugs. But nothing he’d ever been caught or brought up on charges for. Hell, not even a speeding ticket.

Okay.” CJ leaned back against the stall partition. “Be here for eight. Bring some kit and a change of clothes.”


Oh, and I suggest you do your best to avoid Jodie. She’s still pissed at you.”

And you’re not?” CJ had every right to be mad. Eric had been prepared for shouting, screaming, hitting, and kicking. But CJ was unnervingly calm.

For a moment, CJ seemed to think about the question and then shook his head. “It’s been seven years. Getting mad at you isn’t going to change a damn thing, is it?”

Guilt hit Eric hard in the chest, and all he wanted to do was to crawl on hand and knee and beg for CJ to say the words he needed to hear. Could CJ ever forgive him?

It was an accident and we have to live with that.”


CJ raised a hand, stopping Eric from saying anything more. “I don’t want to hear your excuses. The car, the rain, the dumb animal in the road—it was all an accident. But what happened after, that was all you. And you have to live with what you did. I’ve had to, so do you.” He met Eric’s eyes. It was as if he wanted to say more, but he just couldn’t bring himself to. “Tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” And with that, he left the bathroom.

Taking a deep breath, Eric closed his eyes and gently rubbed the top of his stomach. Was he strong enough? He pressed his lips in a line and dared to imagine the taste of whiskey. Was he now allowed to give up with this hopeless attempt to change? He’d tried. He really had. But everything was too hard, and now CJ was in his life, complicating his already twisted world. There was a knock on the door and Eric opened his eyes to find Marcus hovering in the entrance.

I thought I’d check you were okay.” He looked worried as fuck and equally pale. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t even think. I mean, what were the chances, right?” He laughed nervously as he rubbed his palms together.

What were the chances? If asked an hour ago, he’d have said unlikely. As it was, he was about to embark on a venture with his ex. Not exactly how he had imagined his day going. It was his own fault. A project situated in a small town, all about sport and giving back to the community—he should have seen it coming.

Are you sure you want to do this?” Marcus asked. “There’s no shame in changing your mind. You’re at the start of something and I don’t want to see you fail.” God love Marcus and his to-the-point attitude.

Thank you. “I’ll be fine. Was just a bit of a shock.” He seemed to appease Marcus a little.

Okay. But don’t do anything stupid. If you aren’t coping tell me.”

Eric flashed his most convincing smile. “It’s fine. I’m fine. You’ll see.”

About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Twitter: @MeredithRAuthor
Email: meredithrussell66 [at]