Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Such A Weird Year

Everything seemed off this year. I started dealing with chronic pain, fixed it with surgery, tried to keep up with my bff treatment schedule, learned my memory issues are permanent, & then there was that little matter of the election. Ahem.

I noticed all this had a huge effect on how much I was reading, & watching. I always goal to read 50 books, and watch 50 movies. It helps me work better to dive into entertainment that provides the same fun & flirty feeling I hope my books bring. Plus...hello? It's awesome.

This year? I watched 34 movies, and 7 of those were over the holiday break. Here's the kicker. I read 23. Twenty-three! Ugh. No wonder everything seemed off! I wasn't getting enough hope & romance in my life.

Bring on the HEAs. 2017, I'm ready.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

It's National Brownie Day!

Who am I to deny such a day a pan or three of brownies? It's my civic duty!

Plus, it reminded be of this exchange in Compromising Positions in David's office ::

“Sophie, how much longer is this going to take?”

“Depends. Why?” Her eyes narrowed as she looked at David. “I warn you. If you say you have a date, I can’t be held accountable for my actions.”

He smiled. “I’m hungry.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re always hungry.”

He nodded. “How about if I order a pizza? Do you like Pizzicato?”

She shrugged as the spreadsheets began to dance in front of her. “Hot Lips is better.”

“Sophie, you promised no kissing until after.”

“Hot Lips Pizza, you pervert. I thought you actually lived in this town. Pizzicato is too gourmet for me. Hot Lips is more New York. They have a store right by the university, so I got hooked. They also have one in the Pearl District, way too close to Working It Out.” She smiled and looked up at his confused expression. 

“Whatever you want.”

“What’s good?”

“The brownies.”

Compromising Positions

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Snowed In :: Chapter 1


Five minutes. Marissa Clarke knew she couldn’t have stepped away from the reception hall any longer than that. She scanned the room, which was draped in so much white and bright pink tulle it should be illegal. The number of wedding guests shuffling around the dance floor had dwindled to less than twenty, making it impossible not to notice her roommate had disappeared. All night she’d purposely kept an eye on Christa, who’d drunk too much champagne and had an old college boyfriend hanging on her.

She’d been dutiful for the last two days, ensuring last night’s rehearsal dinner and today’s wedding ran smoothly, if not perfect. Maid of honor was a full-time job. So of course her one trip to the bathroom in hours resulted in a missing Christa and the not-so-suspicious absence of her former flame as well.

God, she hated weddings. She hadn’t been to a single one since her own had imploded in the most mortifying way possible. Tanya was the only person she’d brave this for. Especially since so many of the guests tonight were their college friends who had witnessed her own catastrophe. The entire weekend she’d been sharply aware of how many of them whispered about her, still wondered what she had done to be so spectacularly jilted.

Marissa sank into a chair at a nearby table and rested her chin on her hands. She was so emotionally exhausted from feeling scrutinized by everyone that she wanted nothing more than to go to her room, close the door, and let it all go. But she knew exactly what she’d fine if she went upstairs now. The world’s rudest roommate and her dolt of an ex getting it on, in her room. She couldn’t decide whether to go break it up or let it play out. But then, if she let them have at it she’d have to sleep in a room—and a bed—that smelled like sex. She shuddered at the thought.

She should have said no when Christa begged to room with her. After all, she’d booked a single room at the swish central Oregon resort on purpose. But she’d agreed out of kindness, the way she always did. “No” was in her vocabulary, but it didn’t get used very often. Especially when it came to her friends.

Tanya had wanted their entire sorority pledge class at her wedding. They’d spent hours hunting down addresses to invite everyone for the mini-reunion. So when flighty Christa RSVP’d at the last minute and there’d been no room at the inn, Marissa had offered to share hers so her best friend could have her wedding-day wish.

She was good at taking care of things. Making a list and checking it thrice, that’s what made her an excellent event coordinator, and apparently a good friend for free-spirited artists to have. Though stealing away to her room for sex was so far out of bounds she could hardly believe it.

Maybe Jerry had only dragged Christa to the men’s room for a quickie. In college Christa had called him the two-pump chump, so unless his prowess had improved in the last few years, they could reappear any minute now.

“Do you know where they went?” Scott Zimmermann’s deep baritone sounded behind her. His voice had always seemed so sexy, even when she had no business thinking of him that way.

“They gave you the slip too? We should have coordinated a babysitting schedule.” She turned in her chair and smiled, the sight of him hitting her with a familiar jolt of attraction. He still had a boy-next-door-meets-action-hero kind of thing going on. Always up to something and as easy on the eyes as he was to talk to. She’d witnessed too many women get lost in his mossy green eyes and thick eyelashes. Plenty had baited their hook, but none ever caught him.

Scott sank into the chair beside her and shook his head. “I’ve wanted to go home ever since Matt and Tanya left. I should have dragged Jerry out of here by the ear.”

She nodded, wishing she had her own place to escape to. But Portland was hours away, and she had a post-wedding brunch to attend tomorrow before her maid of honor duties were done. “I should have put Christa in a chastity belt before the wedding,” she muttered. “She practically swooned when she spotted Jerry.” She cut a glance to Scott. “Don’t tell me, he forgot to book a room and that’s how you got saddled with him.”

Oh, that smile should be outlawed. “I take it that’s how you got Christa?”

“Guilty. And there’s only a king-sized bed in the room.” Her shudder was not at all exaggerated. She let him connect the dots. His cringe said he followed it with no problem.

“Should we dance while we’re waiting for their walk of shame?” It was hard to miss his hopeful look. He’d asked last night after the rehearsal dinner and twice today, but she’d been too focused on ironing out wedding details the resort coordinator was not trained to handle. She’d much rather organize an event than make idle conversation with people she didn’t know anymore. If she ever did.

“I’m too spent to do anything but sleep. I need the energy to do it all again tomorrow.” Marissa checked the bangle watch on her wrist and sighed. “I’d hoped they were doing the deed in the bathroom. But now I’m sure they’re in our room. No, my room. I’m going to have to evict him and bother housekeeping for fresh sheets.”

“I’ll go with you.” He stood so tall and solid, his athletic body gift wrapped in a tuxedo. Not a rented one either, she recalled from the wedding planning. She’d wondered why he had a tux hanging in his closet ever since.

“You don’t have to.” She pretended not to see his hand as she snagged her clutch from the deserted table and stood. She didn’t want to know if his touch would still vibrate through her followed by a sharp hook of guilt. She’d put Scott deep into the friend zone a long time ago, and now was not the time to throw him a pass. “I’ll send Jerry down. Probably with a swift kick to his sorry butt.”

His gaze lingered on her face a beat too long, the corners of his eyes crinkling as that I-know-your-secrets smile spread across his face. His chuckle sent a warm ripple of desire down her spine. “I want tickets to that show.”

Of course he did. She didn’t bother to convince him she could handle it. The sooner she got to her room and could shut the world out, the better. They walked to the elevator, her head level with his shoulder. Most of the guys she dated were shorter than her, and her strappy sandals had a three-inch heel. She’d forgotten what it felt like to stand tall and still feel delicate, feminine.

“Have you grown since college?” she asked, trying to make conversation. She pushed the button for her floor and stepped back, much too close to him. He didn’t move away, and neither did she, though her heartbeat took off.

He shrugged and glanced down at her. “I hope not. There’s an upper limit to height where it goes from being tall to circus freak. You know, like the half of the basketball team that started.”

She gave a silent laugh, imagining all those giants with rainbow wigs and red bulb noses. Next time one of them gave her a snide comment she’d imagine they were clowns. As the elevator rose, she flashed through memories of those basketball team parties back in college. Chris would abandon her to party with his entourage, leaving her alone and so out of place. But Scott had always taken the time to talk to her, to listen. He’d been the one to suggest she join a sorority, gaining an instant sisterhood and support system. She wouldn’t have survived the aftermath of her non-wedding disaster without them.

He bumped her shoulder and raised his brows. “We should have brought a pitcher of ice water. Sneak in there and cool them both right off.”

She shook her head, an amused puff slipping out. “It might not work with these horndogs.” She shot him an optimistic look. “Are you taking them both back to your place?” The bachelor party at Scott’s cabin had been all any of the groomsmen could talk about.

“Probably.” His grimace was filled with disgust. “I feel like a parent, dragging my kid home from a rave.” Sympathy bloomed next to relief in her chest. If Christa stayed with Jerry, there was half a chance she’d actually get some sleep tonight—after she called housekeeping. But that ray of hope quickly darkened when they approached her room.

“What the actual hell?”

Next to the door sat a black paisley suitcase. Her suitcase. No. Just no. If Christa thought she could kick her out of her own hotel room, she had best think again. Outside. In the cold.
She jammed the keycard into the lock, turning the handle the second the lock clicked. She barged forward, but the door stopped dead an instant later. She glanced at the security lock and her frustration boiled over.

“Damn it, Christa!” she yelled inside, almost gagging on the waft of sweat and sex.
Inside the dark room came a thump, followed by whispers and rustling. Christa had the nerve to smile when she put her face to the three-inch gap, clutching a bedsheet against her chest.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Marissa asked her used-to-be friend.

“We’re getting back together.” The blonde batted her fake eyelashes and beamed with excitement.

“Wait, you’re what?” Holy hell, the girl had learned nothing in college. She lowered her voice, forcing a calm tone. “Have you forgotten how he dumped you the week before he graduated and then backpacked through Europe instead of getting a job?”

“We’ve both grown up, and he’s a basketball coach for underprivileged kids now.” Her indignant glare communicated exactly what she thought of Marissa’s opinion. “We’re going to give it another shot. Be happy for me.”

Marissa shook her head and surrendered that battle, but not the war. “Fantastic. I’m thrilled for you both. Now will you please take your reunion out of my hotel room?”

“About that . . .”

“I don’t know why my suitcase is out here, but I’m not sleeping in a hotel lobby so you can get laid. It’s my room. I booked it. I’m paying for it.”

Jerry’s head appeared atop Christa’s. He cleared his throat. “I’ll pay for the room.”

“No, you won’t, because you’re not staying. You need to get out, now.” She grabbed the handle of her suitcase. “And take Christa with you.”

“I would, except I’m bunking at Scott’s place and he’s— Oh hi, buddy.” The interloper had the nerve to keep the grin on his face as he looked over her shoulder.

She snapped her fingers to keep both trespassers on topic. “No one wants to host your little rendezvous. One of you should have bothered to get a room before you needed to, you know, get a room.”

“It’s not that.” Christa put on her most dazzling smile, the one she saved for modeling shoots and manipulation. “We’d like some privacy to reconnect. You understand.”

“The only thing I understand is that I booked this hotel room, not you.” Awareness shivered up her spine, the scent of soap and cedar wrapping around her like a blanket. She didn’t need to turn to know Scott had stepped closer, way inside her personal bubble.

Christa mouthed the word please. “You could take Jerry’s room up at Scott’s. You’ll have your own room instead of having to share a bed with me. And Wi-Fi. I know you’re annoyed about the Internet here.”

“Help me out,” Jerry implored his friend.

“You’re welcome to stay with me, Marissa.” Scott’s deep timbre vibrated through her again. “The guest room has a private bath, and it’s quiet. Which I doubt either of these two will be.”
Christa nodded like a bobble head. “See? Your own bathroom. I won’t be there to mess up where you put everything.”

Marissa bit the inside of her cheek and her pulse kicked up. She barely restrained urge to kick in the door, call security, and have their naked asses dragged from the hotel. But that would be the talk of brunch tomorrow, instead of everyone telling Tanya how much they’d enjoyed the wedding. This maid of honor gig just didn’t end.

“I’ll drag them back to my place if you want,” Scott offered. “Though my rules stand for you two— I don’t want to hear it, see it, or smell it.”

A punch of disgust turned her stomach. When he put it that way, Marissa really didn’t want to go back in that hotel room where they’d done who knows what, who knows where. She’d have to have housekeeping disinfect the place, and pack up Christa’s things, and she really didn’t want to be on anymore. She had every right to that room, but this whole mess would go away if she just stayed at Scott’s. After all it was just one night. She’d known Scott since college; she’d be safe with him. Even if he did remind her of complete and utter humiliation.

Monday, December 05, 2016

New Release : Snowed In

Welcome to the world, sugar.

For everyone who’s ever been burned by a stupid boy. May you find love with a smart one.

Let’s hope he’s gorgeous and rich, tall and sporting a six-pack, with captivating eyes and a penchant for saying ‘I love you’ at random moments, does the dishes and has memorized Ian Kerner’s She Comes First

Snowed In 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Little Bit of SNOWED IN

With all this release week hoopla for Compromising Positions, y'all are asking for more about Snowed In. I've got you. Here's a sample of things to come ::

No way in hell was she staying upstairs alone, in the dark. Marissa gripped the railing as she made her way downstairs where the fireplace gave the room a warm glow. As a kid she’d been terrified of the dark, the power and heat cut out for reasons other than a storm. She’d thought she’d moved past the fear, but out here darkness swallowed everything, so black the flashlight app on her phone didn’t stand a chance.

Coming downstairs had nothing to do with Scott, or the firelight licking the honed muscles of his bare chest. Or how her tummy did a little shimmy when he looked at her. Nothing to do with the post-wedding loneliness people blamed for unintended hookups. This was practicality, plain and simple.

“Are you coming down here for wine or . . .”

“Sure. A glass or two might help me relax and then we can go to bed.” The blush stung her neck as soon as she realized what she’d said. Again. “Go to sleep, separately.”

He tried to hide his laugh as he poured her a glass, then picked up his own. Her heart squeezed. He’d been waiting for her. He handed her the glass, their fingers brushing and sending enough electricity through her to light up the whole damned house.

He clinked their glasses together. “To old friends.”

“And new beginnings.” She sipped the warm red, letting the rich berry flavor play on her tongue. Few things in life were better than a lush Oregon pinot. “This is delicious.”

“Why do you sound surprised?” He sat on one of the couches, leaving plenty of room for her to join him. But when it came down to it, she chose the next couch over. Overthinking had her going two steps forward and one step back. Plenty of guys called her a tease for it, but it wasn’t deliberate, just her brain working overtime to keep her from getting hurt or embarrassing herself.

“I thought most guys like you drank beer.”

“Guys like me?” He leaned back and crossed one pajama-clad leg over his knee.

“You know, rugged, athletic. Dudes.” She took another sip and wondered if downing the glass would keep her from putting her foot in her mouth again.

“Dude.” He dragged the word out and then shot her a grin that had her shifting in her seat. 


Compromising Positions: The Chocolate Excerpt

I'm chatting about chocolate over at Fresh Fiction today. David & Sophie are such chocoholics I had to find an excerpt showing their Moonstruck Chocolates obsession. Sophie's not physically in this one, but she 's definitely on David's mind.

David knew Sophie was mad, but there had been no way he could have trusted himself to get out of his car when he dropped her off at her home. Entering his condo, he knew he was facing another sleepless night of cold showers and torrid fantasies. The lights on inside surprised him.

He never bothered with the lights; the glimmer from the water was usually enough to help him find his bed at night and the door in the morning. The warm glow and buzzing television could mean only one thing. Kelly was here.

Tossing his wallet and keys on the entry table, he went straight to the kitchen. Kelly always brought food. Really tasty, party-in-your-mouth food. Maybe she’d brought something sugary. She said sugar was good for sexual frustration.

His baby sister didn’t disappoint. Reading “Moonstruck Chocolate Company” on the lid of the crescent-shaped box, David dove in. As one truffle melted in his mouth, he rolled another between his fingers and wondered which would be Sophie’s favorite.

He liked the Italia Espresso but guessed she would be more the Mayan, with its milk chocolate, almonds, and cinnamon, or the Ocumarian. Yes, he nodded to himself, the Ocumarian’s dark chocolate and chili pepper suited her perfectly. She looked innocent, but she played with fire.

“There you are,” Kelly said from the doorway to the laundry room he never entered. “I called your office. They said you have a standing appointment for seven every Thursday.” His sister stepped closer, standing toe-to-toe with him. At six feet tall, she could almost look him in the eye. “David, are you seeing a therapist?”

“What? No. Why would you ask me that?” He eyed the remaining chocolates, choosing Cinnamon Roll Latte and grimacing at the cutesy candies that remained. Ivory Cat and Chocolate Lab. He wasn’t desperate enough to go there, yet.

“There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help.”

He rolled his eyes and leaned his hip against the counter. “And why, exactly, do you think I need a shrink?”

She waved her hand in dismissal and walked back to the laundry room. “Everyone could benefit from a little analysis. I’m just surprised you had a standing appointment on the books. What is it, a poker game?”

“No,” he said quickly, running through possible excuses in his mind. What had Sophie said the other day? Lying is too much work. He tapped his foot on the tile. Enough thoughts about Sophie.

“Then what is it?” Kelly asked, carrying a basket of sheets with her. Pulling one out, she handed two corners to David. “You might as well tell me, because you know I’m not going to stop asking.”

“None of your business,” he said as she approached him with her corners, folding the sheet in half.

“Oh, now I really want to know. Golf lessons?”

“I don’t need golf lessons.”

Kelly took the sheet and finished folding it.

“You should leave your stuff and let the housekeepers take care of it.”

She ignored him, plucking another sheet from the basket. “I know it’s not a date, so let me see… Are you meeting with a trainer?”

He cocked his head. “How do you know it’s not a date? I date.”

“What you do isn’t dating. Your attention span is too short, and your list of rules too long for dating.” Kelly set the sheets on the counter and dug in the basket for the pillowcases, then slowly looked up at him with wide eyes. “Oh my God, it is a date, isn’t it? You’re finally seeing someone.” She dropped the pillowcase on the tile, ran at him, and wrapped her arms around his neck. “David, I’m so happy for you. I was so worried you would never let yourself fall in love with anyone because of Dad.”

“I didn’t say it was a date, just that it could be. And I’m not in love with anyone.” Infatuated and preoccupied, but definitely not in love.

“Who is she?” Kelly asked, beaming up at him. “How long have you known her? What’s she like?”

“Slow down, there’s no date.”

Watching Kelly’s face fall, he felt a little sad. Had the morning at the bakery been a date? Maybe they were dating. “I’m helping a friend teach a class.”

“A woman friend?” She didn’t bother to mask the hopefulness in her voice.

“Craig’s sister-in-law. Sophie.” He watched Kelly’s face as he said the name. Could she tell?

“Sophie.” Her eyebrow arched. “What kind of class?”

He was not going there. “It’s a yoga class for couples.” Omit, don’t lie. That was Sophie’s philosophy. Damn if it didn’t seem to be working. “Craig and Daphne usually teach it, but she’s on bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy. Sophie fills in for her, and I do Craig’s part.”

“Daphne’s okay, right?” Kelly asked, putting her folded linens back in the basket.

“Seems to be. Craig’s freaking out, though.”

“That’s what he does.” Kelly smiled. “Is it at one of Strong Gyms?”

“No, Working It Out. It’s a women-only center Daphne and Sophie own.”

Kelly picked up her basket and headed back for the laundry room. “In the Pearl District. I’ve heard of it. You know they teach a class…” The basket hit the floor with a slap, and she spun around. “Get out!”

David’s stomach twisted. His baby sister had figured out exactly what kind of class he was helping teach. “It’s not what you think.”

“That class is for committed couples only! How long have you been keeping this from me?”

His mind whirled. Just how popular was this class? “How did you know that?”

Kelly looked him in the eye. “Kevin and I are on the waiting list.” Kelly and Kevin had been together since high school and engaged for three years. If Kevin weren’t attending medical school in Washington and Kelly at OHSU, they’d be married by now. He figured they were having sex, but he didn’t want to think about it. He shook the thought from his head and marched into the living room.

“You didn’t answer my question.” She chased after him. “How long has this been going on?” He ignored her, still trying to block the mental image of his sister showing up for that class.

“No wonder,” Kelly said, sinking into the leather sofa.

His muscles tensed at her know-it-all tone. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You haven’t been going out lately. You know, on your little trolling expeditions.”

He didn’t want to think about how long it had been since he’d had sex. Sophie kept showing him that it had been far too long.

“You’re reading this all wrong, Kelly. It’s not what you think. I’m just helping her, nothing more. She’s really not my type.”

“That could be a good thing.”

He was starting to think so, too.

Buy links in one convenient place 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Behind the Book : Compromising Positions

Want to know how Compromising Positions got that title? Check out Behind the Book on the Entangled blog ::

SENSATIONAL SEX. I really wanted that for a title, because WOW. Except...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Compromising Positions Release Day Blast

¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨💕
✮ (¸.•´✮‪ 
When fitness empire CEO David Strong agrees to help teach a yoga class for couples based on poses in The Kama Sutra, he’s put in one compromising position after another. Especially since the instructor is his best friend’s little sister-in-law, doesn’t have a lot of experience with men, and is totally off-limits. She’s everything David’s never wanted. So he can’t understand why he suddenly needs her so much.
Sophie DelFino has fantasized about David for over a decade, but he has a type, and she’s far from it. He’s also got all sorts of rules and reasons why they shouldn’t be together. Good thing Sophie is all about bending the rules.

💕 Find it online 💕

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Almost Snowed In

Image may contain: 1 person , text

No job. No heat. The wrong shoes. The wrong clothes. Discover if true love can be far behind.

No job. They both have damn good jobs. That's why their relationship is long-distance.

No heat. Um...there's plenty of heat - from the giant fireplace and Scott & Marissa.
The wrong shoes - I'll give them that. Girl is caught in a snowstorm in heels.
The wrong clothes - OK, she was at a weekend wedding with a rainy forecast. She packed dresses, as you do.
True love - Well of course. I wrote it after all. LOL

I'm going to laugh. It will keep me from grinding my teeth. After what I've been through with this story, laughing is the only way to deal with it. Because of course the little blurb would be weird. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Compromising Positions On Tour






Silence Is Read, Excerpt
Adventures in writing, Excerpt






Happily Ever Chapter, Spotlight / Playlist
Alpha Book ClubReview