Friday, June 28, 2013

Josie and Darla talk -- an excerpt from It's Complicated

From It's Complicated. This conversation takes place before Darla meets Trevor and Joe in Random Acts of Crazy (actually, she's about to get in her car and find Trevor on the side of the road, but she doesn't know that!):

Hey! Howzitgoin'?” Darla's voice boomed through her smartphone. Hitting “pause” on her movie, Josie curled up with Dotty in her lap, wondering what her niece was up to.
Niece. Cousin. Technically, they were cousins, but considering the seven and a half year age difference, and the fact that Josie had practically helped raise Darla after their dads died in the car accident, they just called each other “Aunt” and “Niece,” finding it easier. There was no rhyme or reason to it – Darla had just started calling her Aunt Josie when she was four and they lived together while their moms recovered in separate hospitals, and it stuck.
It's going. How about you?”
Booooooooring. Everything is so booooooring here. Nothing fun ever happens. I'm about to drive home from my shift and it's soooooooo dull.”
I see nothing's changed back home.”
Darla snorted. A cash register dinged in the muffled distance. “Nope. What about you?”
She thought about spilling her guts about Alex, but stopped herself. Her mom and Aunt Cathy always hoped Josie would meet and marry a doctor, and then everything would be just perfect, as if she'd be rescued from her own life. For Marlene, she knew, a son-in-law as a physician meant money. Maybe access to pills. Ah, the delusions of a woman with the conscience of a cockroach and the narcissism of Kim Jong Il.
Her hesitation made Darla ask, “Josie? You got something to say?”
No. Not really.”
'Not really' is different from 'no.'” Darla was fishing, and she was right – Josie wanted a friend to talk to, and Laura hadn't answered her texts or two voice mails yet. She was bursting.
Unicorns and fairies are hypothetical.”
So is my story, if I'm going to tell it.”
Hypothetically, imagine you're dating a guy who makes you feel like you can trust him. Like he doesn't judge you.”
Oh, look!” Darla shouted. “A unicorn with a fairy on its back, shitting gold coins!”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jeremy and Lydia at The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

An excerpt from Suspiciously Obedient, coming July 2/3!
Jeremy invited her on a day excursion to the Blue Lagoon. Again, the terrain reminded Lydia of a desert—a cold desert—as they drove through the rocky volcanic countryside between Reykjavik and the hot springs.
The Blue Lagoon was a giant resort built around a geothermal abnormality, an acre or so of an enormous hot tub, essentially, filled with minerals at the bottom of the hot springs. She’d never seen anything like it, and as they parked it looked like an exotic, high-end spa. In fact, it turned out, there was a spa doing a fairly brisk business, but that wasn’t what she and Jeremy came for.
As they checked in and paid their admissions, she saw that the man on the airplane who had harassed her on her plane trip here had been correct; one could, indeed, rent a bathing suit, and towels, and just about anything you needed. As bus after bus brought people from the airport on a layover for a quick dip in the water, she was impressed at the efficiency of the entire operation.
Changing into her bathing suit was a bit of a cultural shock as women wandered around the locker room completely naked and absolutely uninhibited, whether they were fourteen or ninety-four. She joined in. Being the only girl among a gaggle of boys had meant preserving her modesty, but she also had no problem with joining the Romans when in Rome.
Her body was one of the curvier in the room, although each woman had her own differences—some with wider hips, some with saggier skin, some with saddle bags, others with pert breasts and tight waists and perfect skin. The sheer variety of bodies in the room was almost artistic, and if she hadn’t thought that it would brand her as some sort of pervert or peeping Tom, she would have stared openly just to catch more of a nuanced look at what a woman’s body could be and why she didn't need to feel a sense of shame for her own lushness and peaks and valleys in the way that her body had formed over the years.
Wiggling into her suit, she was glad she had manicured herself where she needed to be manicured, and while some women seemed to be waxed such that any hair trying to escape would have been lasered, tasered, or plucked, others went au naturel with hair wherever hair grew. She was somewhere in between and wondered what others must think of her body, of her cultural norms, as she straightened her body in the mod ’60s black bathing suit that she’d chosen for its slimming characteristics.
A wave of self-consciousness hit her as she began to pad barefoot outside to the main lagoon area. What would Jeremy think of her body? Why was she worried about this? They weren’t dating, this wasn’t a relationship, he’d simply asked her to go to this natural wonder that she could only access here in Iceland. It was a fun day trip and nothing more.
Yet, she felt exposed… as if the first moment his eyes landed on her uncovered flesh she’d be judged. An evaluation she didn’t feel like undergoing right now, one that felt heavy and cumbersome, and for the first time she wished his presence weren’t such a weight around her neck.
The day was sightly overcast, the sky’s blueness still peeking out through grayer clouds. This wasn’t the kind of cover that made her worry about rain, but was more a gentle shift in weather patterns that simply muted the sun. As she searched the crowd for him, she found him, his height no variant here—most of the men were his size.
He wore swim trunks and her self-consciousness increased as she had the opportunity, while his head was turned away, looking for her elsewhere, to evaluate his body. A long, stretched-out torso, like an Olympic swimmer’s, went down to narrow, sculpted hips and stretched up to broad shoulders. He was what her mother would call wiry, with tight, small muscles stretched across his bones in ways that were compelling, that made her want to touch each one with her fingertip as if taking an inventory.
He had a smattering of hair in all of the places that men should have a smattering of hair, and it thickened at the waistband of his swimsuit. His legs were long and his stride confident as he turned away from her to look for her. By the time he turned back she could feel her breathing quick, and, licking her lips—an involuntary response—she enjoyed the few moments to just take him in.
“Dear God,” she muttered. “What the hell is wrong with you, Lydia?”
And then, as if she were calling him, like some sort of signal for Batman, he turned and locked eyes. His face went slack as he openly cataloged her with an expression of smoky lust.
To her surprise, she let him, not moving a muscle.
Her body could almost feel his eyes on the swell of her bicep, the outer edge of her breast going down to the soft curve of her waist and then the wider, ample hips. By the time he got to her feet and her toenails, which were painted a lovely China red, she tingled, completely caught off guard by his simple, searching look.
Those were the eyes of a man who wanted her. Pure and clear. There was no ambiguity. No disguise. No fake green eyes.
No fake human being.
Faltering, his smile shook a bit as they reached each other, then looked down at the milky waters, mesmerized. Steam rose up in pockets from the water’s surface, jagged black rock around uneven edges of the hot springs.
“It’s too hot!” she exclaimed, dipping one toe in.
“Yes, you are.” He coughed as she arched one eyebrow. “I mean, it is.” Contradicting himself, he waded right in, diving under the water like a seal, popping up ten feet away to Lydia’s right.
Following slowly, her feet sank into the muddy floor, the gray dirt mushing between her toes. It wasn’t really mud, yet not sand. Wholly new, the feeling disturbed her as she made her way, inch by inch, toward Jeremy, who was now crouched down in three feet of water, his head hovering, wet hair slicked back and face excited, like a child’s.
His exuberance was contagious, and Lydia imitated him, sinking into the water until only her head and shoulders were above the surface. Warmth radiated through her, relaxing all her muscles. Reaching down, she scooped up a handful of the strange mud from the water’s bottom and held it out to him.
“What is this?”
“Mineral mud, I think,” he answered, shrugging. Scooping his own handful from under the water, he studied it. “I think the brochure inside said it’s silica mud.” Jeremy looked around, then rubbed both hands together.
“What are you doing?”
“Spa treatment.” He began applying the mud to his face, like a woman getting a mud mask, leading Lydia to giggle. Two older women nearby were doing the same, Jeremy studying them intently, mimicking their movements. When he was done, he looked ridiculous, with whitish-gray mud on his skin, eyelids, lips—like a four-year-old’s version of playing “spa.”
“Here. Let’s do you,” he said, reaching out with one muddy hand for her face. Do me, she thought, laughing nervously to get rid of the thought. Wrestling away from him, their arms clenched in battle, she enjoyed the contact, wet skin and fingers sliding against each other, his face a mask of playful determination, covered in white goo. How could he be so open, so uninhibited? Jeremy had no filter. No self-consciousness or concern about how he appeared; he was just there to make merriment and to enjoy himself. His hand brushed against her breast and she wondered if he was like that in bed, the idea making the sudden heat that filled her burn far hotter than the water.
On the losing side of fitness compared to his size and physique, she found herself hopelessly outclassed by his sheer strength, succumbing to a palmful of mud on her cheeks and nose.
“Hey! On the face, not up the nose!” she sputtered, snorting inelegantly.
He looked stricken, the shocked expression comical when combined with the mud mask.
“You look like Mr. Bill.”
Flattening his hands, he placed on palm on each cheek in mockery of the Saturday Night Live joke. “Oh, noooooooo…”
She took that as her cue to dip underwater, the hushed sound of the hot bath covering her ears, making her stop thinking about how his hands felt on her bare skin, how strong his forearms were, how she’d brushed against his taut thigh while he pinned her in place to wipe the mineral mud on her. Down here, she could think, even as her lungs burned for air.
Breaking the surface, she stood, the water at her waist, the cold air a balm. When she opened her eyes, he was staring openly at her breasts, a half-smile on his now-clean face.
“I've been watching—”
“I noticed,” she interrupted.
“—other women,” he continued. Oh. Oops. “And they massage the mud all over their bodies.” He stepped closer, his body looming over hers, hips inches from each other. The steam filled her lungs and rose in a cloud around them, the lagoon large enough that no one was near. Jeremy began wading further out, with Lydia entranced, following him, her eyes drawn to the rippled muscles of his chest, the same cut abs that Mike possessed, stretched out in a swimmer’s body on the longer, lithe Jeremy. Both bent under water to grab fistfuls of white mineral mud, and she reached out to rub his back, seeking an excuse to make contact. He straightened up, shoulders broad and outstretched like a cobra’s back, her hand taking its time to massage the mineral mixture in.
How strange life was. A few weeks ago she was living a life she’d carved out for herself, barely having met “Matt Jones” and worried about her romance marketing presentation. Here she was, now, in Iceland, slathering silica residue all over the best friend of the man who’d won her heart and betrayed her. As her hands moved down, closer to Jeremy’s waistband, she took some liberties, caressing the skin at his hip a bit too sensually, reaching forward just one extra inch to…
The hitch in his breathing told her what she sought.
He felt it, too.
What could they do with these emotions, though? Mike had sent Jeremy to watch over her, right? What the hell did that mean? Teasing this out just a bit more, she leaned forward into his shoulder, her lips at his neck, and whispered, “Is this relaxing enough?” as she massaged the mud into his hip, reaching forward just enough to—
A ninja-like grip on her wrist was her answer. “Don’t start something you’re not prepared to finish.” His tone was beseeching, not the smoky threat she'd expected. If he turned around right now, if she faced him, if one more millimeter of skin touched his, she would kiss him and start something she would absolutely want to finish, back in her room, on her bed, on the floor—hell, in an alley. The image of Jeremy's nude body over hers, his hands on her ass, his mouth on her where she needed it most, invaded her brain as his grip softened, his face turning back toward hers, cheeks against one another. When he swallowed, she felt it, the movement sending a ripple through her.
“And,” he added, his voice ragged with emotion as he turned around, facing her, making it impossible not to kiss him, “it’s your turn.” Hands clamped over her shoulders as he spun her around gently. The heat and wet of mud stroked against her shoulder blades as Jeremy patiently began touching her in small circles, branching out into larger paint swipes, his palm a brush and her back his canvas. No mere massage, his hands told her what his body could not—yet. As he stepped closer, his hips touched her ass, giving Lydia a very certain sense of how he felt about her, firm and rigid flesh colliding with her pliant curves. A gentleman, he stepped back, letting only his fingers smooth and push into her back and neck now, covering her in a pale, creamy coating meant to rejuvenate and restore.
Oh, how it did.
Yet it wasn’t the mud that accomplished one iota of that…
His presence behind her blocked out the sun, his warmth radiating so much more than any rays could produce, and as her pulse raced, her knees locked and throbbing, her body thrumming with desire, she realized that if he didn't stop touching she would never let him stop touching her. This had to end. Now.
Plunging underwater with a sudden, vicious drop, she ended the torture of his socially acceptable touch, a series of brushes that led to not so socially acceptable scenes in her mind. Coming up for air, she found him standing in place, hands planted on his hips, a seductive smile on those lips.
“Had enough?”
Oh, Jeremy, she thought. Hell, no.

Running, Josie style, from It's Complicated

And, as promised, an excerpt:

She could hear the smile in his words as he said, “Want to come over? We can have a glass of wine here and then go for a walk.”
We will never get to the actual walk part, Alex, if I come over.”
And that would be a problem because...?”
Because you invited me for a walk!”
Then I am uninviting you. There. You are not invited for a walk. Come over for a glass of wine instead. 34 Windsor. C'mon.”
You really do live close to me!” By her calculations, his apartment was about two blocks away.
I know. If I squint and get a pair of u-bend binoculars and angle seven mirrors with SETI-like precision, I still can't see in your bedroom window.”
Silly. She needed silly right now. Silly drove her mother's acidity away. “Bummer,” she replied, yawning.
You tired?” he asked. The sound of ice cracking filled the phone, then water pouring. “I have a bed you could sleep on.”
If I'm in your bed, sleep is the last thing we'd do.”
Yes, it is. The last thing after plenty of others.”
Was this an invitation for sex and for an overnight? Could Dr. Perfect be calling in a booty call? Or had the relationship shifted, a casual approach to dating evolving into a more relaxed way of meeting up?
On the count of three,” she said.
Oh, God, I have to chase you again, don't I?” he groaned. “Let me put on my shoes.”
On the count of three,” she repeated, “let's run and see where we meet.”
You're not wearing panties, are you?”
Yes, I am.”
I meant only panties.”
No. Why?”
Because the last time you sprinted away from me, that's how you were dressed. Now – GO!” Click. He hadn't waited for her count of three! Completely unnerved, yet tremendously excited, she ran to the front door, grabbing her keys off a hook next to the door, sliding her feet into crocs. Josie ran with about as much grace as a zombie in a 5K run. Only slower. Alex was practically at her doorstep by the time they met in the “middle.”
Half a block? That's the best you could do?” he asked, laughing. She wore a short camisole that was a bit tight, stretched taut against her belly. He patted it, palm flat against her ribs and navel, the gesture affectionate and thrilling. “You have a runner's body,” he said, his face screwed up in a puzzled expression as she glared at him. “Don't you run?”
Only when the ice cream truck passes by.”

It's Complicated Release Date and Cover Reveal

Let me preface this blog post by saying THANK YOU to readers who helped make Random Acts of Crazy and my Her Two Billionaires series so popular. The past 5 weeks, since Random  Acts of Crazy was published, have been INSANE in phenomenal and inspiring ways!

So much in my life has changed (for the better!). I've also been overwhelmed with all sorts of requests for my attention and time, I've acquired an agent, my book hit the USA Today bestseller list, I'm scheduled to go to more romance-writing conferences (including the big national RWA conference in Atlanta in mid-July), and -- see? Amazing.

Suspiciously Obedient, the second in my Obedient series, is scheduled for July 2 upload. I am SUPER EXCITED to continue Lydia's story and pick up from the cliffhanger of Maliciously Obedient.

And It's Complicated was (note the past tense...) scheduled for an end-of-June release. The new release date is July 31, 2013.

Now here's the cover:

I know the release is later -- and I apologize. At the same time, It's Complicated got...complicated. It's my biggest book ever (120,000 words -- about 500 print pages), and it mixes so many of your favorite characters into a vortex of awesomeness. Plus I have the national Romance Writers of America convention smack in the middle of July.

I'll post more excerpts as the month evolves, so you get a taste of what's to come. In the meantime, subscribe to my New Releases email newsletter to be notified as soon as my new books are out (and to grab it while it's $.99), check the blog for more excerpts, and enjoy Suspiciously Obedient when it comes out on Tuesday!

Again, my undying thanks to readers like you.

Back to writing!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cover reveal for Suspiciously Obedient

Uploading July 2!

And Maliciously Obedient got a makeover, too:

Watch your email for an announcement when the new book goes live, and if you're not on my New Releases email list, join now:

Monday, June 24, 2013

MISSING SCENE from Random Acts of Crazy!

Head on over to Laura's Bookish Treasures, where she's holding a "Blogiversary," to read a newspaper article about a mysterious naked man whole stole a chicken in western Massachusettts....

Naked Man Steals Chicken, Evades Local Police

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My next next next next next book and why I have to start running

Next book is Suspiciously Obedient.

Then It's Complicated.

Then Random Acts of Trust.

Then Deliciously Obedient.

And then...a book in which the main female character takes up running. Which means I need to start a C25K (couch to 5K) program.

You know what a chicken looks like after it drinks two espressos and tries to limbo under a samurai sword and fails?

Yeah. That's me. Running.

Anyone ever done C25K? Tips? Please give me some advice in the comments!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guestblogging at Sara Fawkes' Site!

My keepers let me out of my writing and editing cave long enough to pen a short article on making the transition from writing erotica to writing New Adult romance books over at my friend Sara Fawkes' blog.

If you're not familiar with her book, Anything He Wants, and her new series, Castaway, definitely check both out. HOT HOT HOT and with a depth of story that will stay in your head for a long time.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Manic by J.A. Huss -- Cover Reveal and more!

Check out J.A. Huss's cover reveal and her new New Adult contemporary romance, Manic

MANIC by J. A. Huss 
Rook and Ronin, #2 
New Adult Contemporary Romance 
Expected Publication: August 1, 2013

TRAGIC is over and Rook is ready for the future—Spencer Shrike and the STURGIS contract!
It’s three months of body art modeling! That means three months of Spencer Shrike’s paintbrush all over her body, three months in front of Antoine’s camera, and three months of twenty-four hour filming for Spencer’s Biker Channel reality show.

Wait a minute…what reality show? Maybe she should’ve read that STURGIS contract a little closer? ;)

Sure, Rook’s bank account is almost overflowing, but Ronin is angry, Clare is trying to escape rehab, Antoine is a worried mess, and Elise is just trying to hold everyone together. Her new family is about to fall apart before she even gets the chance to enjoy them.

Add in a mysterious man from her past, a road trip to the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and a final show in front of the entire world where all her goods are on display, and you’ve Manic—a new adult contemporary romance that will definitely make your summer sizzle!



TRAGIC: Rook and Ronin, #1


Rook Walsh is TRAGIC

Because life so far – just sucks. Some girls get parents. Rook got the foster care system. Some girls get Prince Charming. Rook got an abusive frog. Some girls get lucky…

Rook got a second chance.

And she took it. Because when fate throws you a bone – you grab it with both hands and run.
Antoine Chaput knows the minute he spies Rook in his photography studio that she’s got The Look. The dark and desperate look he must have to land the exclusive TRAGIC media contract.

Rook is paired up with top model, Ronin, and he’s everything her abusive ex-boyfriend wasn’t. Patient, gentle, happy, attentive, and sexy! He knows exactly what to do to make Rook blush for Antoine’s camera.
Rook’s luck changes in an instant and suddenly she’s the darling of the modeling world. It’s a dream job to go with a dream guy and all she has to do is look pretty and follow directions. But there’s always a price to pay – and Rook is about to get the bill.




JA Huss is a SF and new adult romance junkie, has a love-hate relationship with the bad boys, and likes to write new adult books about people with real problems. She lives with her family on a small acreage farm in Colorado and has two donkeys named Paris and Nicole. Before writing fiction, she authored almost two hundred science workbooks and always has at least three works in progress.



Friday, June 14, 2013

New Adult Books to Watch (plus a reveal about my future books)

Random Acts of Crazy is a New Adult romance, and I'm already at work on Random Acts of Trust. Oh -- you didn't know there'd be a book starring Sam, the Random Acts of Crazy drummer (who you meet, briefly, in It's Complicated), and Amy, his love interest from high school who is in her first year of grad school who hates Darla on sight?


Here's the opening to the new book:
Drummers are mysterious creatures who seek the erratic microbeats of authentic life that are layered between the macrobeats of society. Sam's hands were always tapping. Did they move in his sleep? Were his dreams filled with the nuanced undertone of beated movement? What did those hands seek?
With his hands in constant motion, how could I let him know my body should be the one place where those fingers could be still?

Anyhow...Random Acts of Trust is coming out months from now, so to get your right now NA fix, here are some suggestions:

The Stronger, Safer Kind (free as of 6/14/13!)

The Rock Star and the Girl from the Coffee Shop $2.99

Passion Potion (Paranormal New Adult) $2.99

My Side (Rock Star NA) $.98

Haze (Music industry NA) $2.99

Lucky Break (Rock Star NA) $.99

Letting You In $2.99

If you have read any of these, please comment -- or, better yet, write a review on Amazon so other readers can learn from you!

More NA to come in future blog posts!

::Julia scurries back to her hovel where she writes and edits her next books::

Thursday, June 13, 2013

When Laura almost interrupted Josie and Alex from It's Complicated

It's excerpt time as the books get edited, tweaked, revised and edited once more. Here's a healthy dose of Dr. Perfect and Josie the morning after...well, read on:

Some strange man's rather muscular upper thigh trapped her to the bed, her arms swimming to reach shore. A ringing in her ears pierced through her fuzzy consciousness enough to realize that her phone was ringing and Alex, naked, was sound asleep, half on top of her.
The phone slipped out of her hands twice until she finally pressed the glass and shoved it in the general direction of her ear.
I'm living with a squid who eats my body fluids!”
Laura. What time was it? She pulled the phone away from her ear and squinted. 8:22 a.m. “I don't want to hear about your sex life with Dylan,” Josie hissed.
I was talking about Jillian!”
Josie cleared her throat and said nothing.
Besides, there is no sex life for me with anyone. You ever try to have sex with a screaming time bomb in the house that shits up its back at any moment?”
No, but I did see an ad like that on the Craigslist personal section once.”
A slow turn from the large, manly body next to her gave her eye candy to last for months. “Who is it?” he mumbled. “Did my phone go off? Is there an emergency at the hospital?”
Who's there!” Laura shrieked into the phone. “Where are you?”
Josie wiped her eyes and cleared her throat. “I'm at home.” The less said, the better, as Alex reached up to caress one bare breast. In the daylight, his body was even better than she'd imagined, all feline and protective and big. He buried his head in her hip, cuddling in a way that sent shoots of heat through her.
Who said 'hospital'?” Laura asked.
I did,” Alex replied, chuckling into Josie's belly.
Oh, my God, is Dr. Perfect in bed with you?”
Time to give up. “Yes.”
Alex grabbed the phone and spoke into it. “No,” he said, kissing her hip bone, then sliding away, his receding warmth nearly making her cry. His muscled ass wandered into the hallway and she heard a door shut.
SQUEEEEE! Laura's scream could be heard five houses down by the deaf, ancient labradoodle that wore a diaper when its owner took her for walks every morning. “You're sleeping with Alex?”
I am somethinging with Alex.”
What's somethinging?”
We're making it up as we go along.”
You let him spend the night?”
Silence. This was not an easy conversation.
Josie? You never let guys spend the night.”
He watched Downton Abbey with me last night. We fell asleep in front of Netflix after four episodes.”
Men don't watch Downton Abbey unless they're trying to get in your pants.”
Well, it worked.”
Another squeee from Laura. “You never, ever let guys stay over,” she repeated, her tone of abject marveling making Josie's stomach flutter.
I know, but he doesn't know that, and you're yelling as if I were your deaf great-grandma, so cut it out.”
OK,” Laura whispered with great affect, like someone on stage.
Why are you calling?” A gurgle in the distance told her Alex was making coffee.
To complain about my sex life. But yours is much more interesting. Do tell!”
Tell what?” Josie asked dryly. Alex sauntered back in, gloriously buff, carrying two mugs of coffee. He handed one to her.
Perfect. Dr. Fucking Perfect. No man had ever brought her coffee in bed. Then again, no man ever had the chance to...
He just brought me coffee in bed,” she hissed into the phone.
Did I interrupt sex?” Laura squealed.
No, but you're about to,” Alex said in a cheerfully loud voice.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An excerpt from Suspiciously Obedient

In all the rush and excitement of getting ready for It's Complicated, and celebrating the AMAZING success of Random Acts of Crazy, it's easy to forget I have Suspiciously Obedient coming out the first week of July!

A taste:

Silver hair followed by China-blue eyes filled the room, sucking the air out of her lungs and making all the blood in her body rush to her V. There stood Michael Bournham, his body encased in some sort of shimmery grey t-shirt, made from an impossibly-fine fabric, and jeans that looked painted on by Michaelangelo himself. Sunglasses hung from a strap around his neck, and his look was of such intensity that the rest of the world melted away, breaking apart molecule by molecule as everything converged into one, simple atom.


"Lydia," he said, and his voice seemed different. Smokier. More commanding. In her heart she knew this was Matt. Matt Jones. The same man she'd hated, then grudgingly liked, then pined for, and finally submitted to -- eagerly. No different today than two days ago, aside from eye and hair color. He wasn't worth the strange reaction her body and brain elicited, electric thrumming creating a frequency that pounded away at her pulse, her thoughts, her heart.

Being Michael Bournham should have meant absolutely nothing. Her hands had stroked this man. Her mouth had kissed this man. Her body had accepted this man into her, thrusting and urgent and fevered and hot, pushing and bucking for more of him.

His skin was the same, sandy hair sprinkled in all the right places. In the closet, in the elevator, in his office, in her own damn bed, those hands had touched her flesh, alternating between tender and coarse with powerful caresses, the ability to shift from one state to the other an exquisite, almost divine, gift.

Metamorphosis went both ways then, no? If he could change touch so easily, why not identity?

Who had she really fucked, after all? Ah. That was the $64,000 question.

Aim higher, Lydia.

The near-billion dollar question. Everyone knew about Michael Bournham's quest for his billion dollar empire. Everyone. From mail room guys to senior vice presidents, the austerity measures at Bournham Industries over the past eighteen months had been all about him. A contract signed in his blood, practically, with the board of directors had made headlines for weeks, garnering stories in The Economist, Wall Street Journal -- even Rolling Stone had done a feature on him and his ballsy move.

What part did she play in this race to drive profits high enough to win his bet? A viral sex tape might smear his reputation, but in the end he'd just be labeled a bad boy, another renegade playboy rolling in more money than God. Publicity, though -- that was gold. Getting the Bournham name in the news, on YouTube (hell, YouPorn), increasing branding by a social media factor of hundreds -- the value of fucking her on camera was, well --


Priceless precisely because she had no price tag. What he had done happened with her full consent -- the physical act, that is.

The taping?

That violated her to the bone.

"I am so, so sorry," he rasped, voice shaking with emotion. Not nervous; guys like Michael Bournham were never nervous. They were in complete control every fucking second of their lives, right? Letting them get "caught" on tape was all about micromanaging every second of his time with her. Fake, fake, fake -- it had all been a giant ruse, Matt Jones' attraction to her, his intensity in the elevator, those warm arms around her in the supply closet, hot mouth on her clit, his rod driving her open and pounding her to ecstasy.
What else was on tape? In some editing room in L.A. was an assistant splicing together more film of their intimate encounters, ready to run on the E! channel? Would she be the subject of a Tosh monologue? Or was she going to be The Daily Show's Moment of Zen?

Sorry? He was sorry? If Michael Bournham had used her to ride a social media wave so great she would be "sex tape girl" well into her golden years, the subject of ridicule on Fark, SomethingAwful, Reddit and beyond, then she really only had one choice, as he watched her, eyes hawklike and predatory, clearly here with one purpose: to win her over.

Her choice, though, was to stay the course. What she needed to do was to follow his final order as her boss.

To maliciously obey.

“Did you get what you wanted?” she asked, struck by how different he was from Matt Jones and yet, this was the same man.

“Get what I wanted?” he asked, pretending to be confused. As if Michael Bournham would ever be confused.

“Quit playing games. You know exactly what I’m talking about,” she said.

“What I want is you.”

“No. What you want is money.” He flinched. She continued. “Everyone knows that. Everyone, Mr. Bournham. From the guy who cleans the shit off the toilets to your executive assistant and everyone in between, and I’m one of the in-betweens.” She felt her face stretch in an angry, bitter smile. “Your deal with the board; your deadline is coming up, so everyone’s known that all these stupid cost cutting measures for the past eighteen months - all of the ‘we can’t afford to give you raises’ ‘we can’t afford to give you bonuses’ ‘we can’t afford to give you regular toilet paper that’s not made in Poland’ - all of it so you could make your goal with the board, your bet. So apparently, I’m part of the wager?”

“You’re part of nothing.”

“Nothing,” she said. Now she was pissed. “I’m part of nothing.” She nodded and smiled, a cynical grin. “That’s right. I’m nothing to you. I’m actually less than nothing, aren’t I?”

He tried to interrupt her but she held out a palm. “I’m less than nothing because you used me. You knew those cameras were rolling. You let me make love to Matt Jones in the office. You teased, you taunted, you seduced, you led me on and I broke. I broke,” she said, shrugging, sighing deeply and shaking her head.

And then she looked him straight in the eye. “I broke. I fell for someone you created, I fell for a guy I thought was smart and funny and intelligent and caring, and who actually might give a damn about me and treat me like an equal with respect and with mutual attraction.”

She looked him over, top to bottom. “Same guy, same body, but it turns out you spun that out of thin air so you could gain your notoriety and get the name of Bournham Industries all over every web platform, every media outlet, and boost your profits, huh?”

His eyes widened."You think that?"

“Oh, I’m right, aren’t I?”

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Alex and Josie from It's Complicated

A tiny taste:

And then he asked, “Is Josie short for Josephine?”
Another preliminary to get out of the way. Names. “Yes. Josephine Elizabeth Mendham.”
His smile lit up the room. And her heart. He bowed slightly, a joking move, and said, “Alexander Edward Derjian. At your service.”
That name rang a bell, but before she could think twice his arms slipped around her waist, one hand setting down his wine glass and then carefully prying hers from her own hand, his fingers so gentle and facile on the stem that she swooned. Surgeon's hands. Long fingers. Oh, what could those do to parts of her that cried out for heat and touch and more?
She was about to find out.
Alex, I – ” His fingers, achingly soft, landed on her lips, silencing her, while his other arm snaked about her waist, hand splayed against the middle of her back where her shoulder blades met.
Let me speak first, Ms. Josephine Elizabeth Mendham.” The roll of her full name off his tongue sent her knees into a weak state, thighs humming and her breathing becoming a bit labored with lust. Matter had changed. The blend of oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen must have been altered, the formula now thick with a new element, one of luscious, unqualified want.
His hair slid over his forehead, the brown waves out of place and damn near perfect, the wide cheekbones and bright eyes competing for her attention with his fingers, which now played with her lower lip, rolling it out until the wet flesh of her mouth made his fingerpad slide down, touching her chin.
I said the other day that this isn't just about sex,” he continued.
I know – ” Now he pressed his middle three fingers against her mouth, harder. She moaned involuntarily, her hard swallow and slow, long inhale the only way to hold back from coming right there in his arms in full view of the damn cat, who had now decided to pause and stare lazily at the humans, as if watching prey.
I know you think you know.” Alex pivoted and grabbed a kitchen chair with the hand that wasn't making love to her mouth, sitting down and pulling her into his lap, the brush of her pants against his trousers, the feel of his hardness under her ass making her center swell, her throat tighten with need, and her mouth seek his.
A smile tickled his lips as he stroked her hip, running one wide palm down her thigh. This was a man who enjoyed touching women, sending a thrill of damn near everything through her, as if what she had thought was an isolated, insular act – making love – was instead a blanket that covered her entire world. Instead of separating and compartmentalizing – This is sex time. This is lunch time. This is work time. – he made it seem, in this split-second, that it could all be integrated into This is life.
I need to make sure you know, Josie. This is me telling you so. But first, I want to make love with you, because no matter how many times I tell myself this isn't only about sex, and that I don't want to scare you off by making you think I think it's only about sex, all I can think about is getting you stripped bare and using my hands and tongue and,” he shifted, making it obvious which other part of his body he wished to use, “to make you cry out my name like it's the only word left in your mind.”
Josie had no words. She couldn't even try to speak.
And then we'll work on the rest of the getting to know each other stuff, like your cat's name, and – ”
Sweetly, with an exquisite motion that took time and broke it into little slivers of awareness, she rose up in his lap, wrapping her legs about his waist on the chair, the rasp of cloth against cloth a friction that set her entire body into a buzz. One finger traced a lazy path from his eyebrow down his face, the aroma of his cologne infusing her as she let all her senses come forth and accept this as it blossomed, time changing in the air between them. The sight of her skin against his, how his eyebrow raised with a questioning look, how his eyes told her more in an unspoken language than every person who had said words to her over an accumulated lifetime could possibly have communicated.
The brush of her fingertips against his freshly-shaved chin and the taste of his jawline as she leaned down to kiss it mingled with the sounds of kids and parents cheering across the street, blending with blues melodies that poured out of the speakers in her bedroom. What had felt like a nervous rush since the second she'd met him in the hospital last week turned on a dime, his strong, smooth hands now caressing the nape of her neck, his abs brushing against hers, their bodies seeking to fit into each other just right as their tongues found each other, a savored entwining that she deliberately drew out, as if to tell him in tender flesh that this now was not measured in seconds or minutes or hours.
It had its own timeline.
Cats,” she said slowly against his mouth. “I have two. One hides nonstop, but the other is Dotty.”
Dotty,” he murmured.
Yes. Dotty and Crackhead.”
Crackhead?” he sputtered, wiggling his hips just enough so that she could have dry humped him and walked away with one of the best orgasms ever. It was, however, in her best interests to stick around and go for the more mature climactic approach. The way he moved juuuust enough to set her right on top of his erection told her he was thinking the same thought. Her lust twin.
How convenient.
Now that you know their names,” she whispered against his mouth, “are we done with all the 'not sex' parts, and can we move to the 'sex parts'?”
I like your sex parts,” Alex sighed, sliding one hand up to cup her breast, the nipple responding to his touch.
Her hand found his erection easily, though it was blocked by clothing. “I'd like yours more if I could see them,” she teased.
At your service, Ms. Josephine.” Nearly falling to the ground as he stood, Josie found herself the only customer at a private strip tease as Alex unceremoniously unbuttoned his shirt, his fingers so precise and efficient in the unbuttoning. As the shirt hung open at the chest while he twisted his wrists to unbutton the cuffs, she realized she'd only caught glimpses of his nakedness in the handful of romps they'd had, all illicit moments stolen in an on-call room, an outdoor trail, an elevator.
Time for the big unveiling.

* * *

Alex couldn't remember the last time he'd had this much fun getting naked for a woman. Toppling Josie out of his lap had been tough, but necessary, if it meant he could take the lead and show her what “sex parts” really meant.
You want 'em? You got 'em.
She joined in, to his delight, matching him clothing piece for clothing piece, as if they were playing strip poker without any cards. The cat – was it Dotty or Crackhead? – sniffed with pretentious condescension and headed for the living room.
Good. The only audience he wanted was Josie.
As he slid his shirt off and slung it over the back of a kitchen chair, she reached down with both hands and pulled her knit top off in one intensely erotic motion, throwing the light piece of cloth onto a little bench behind her. The lilac silken bra underneath was so feminine, so achingly delicate, that he wanted to take it off her with a savage grace. Holding himself back, he took her in with his eyes while she returned the favor.
They both seemed to like what they saw.
He nodded. “Go ahead.”
She frowned, hands on hips now. “Go ahead what?”
The bra.” He stood before her, shirtless, filled with a thrumming that blocked out the rest of the world.
What about the bra?” she asked, looking down at it. 
You need to take it off or I'll rip it off with my teeth.”
You can't!”
I have very strong teeth.”

USA Today Bestseller!

Every Thursday USA Today issues its list of the top 150 best-selling books for the previous Monday through Sunday.

It's not like I'm writing this blog post at 6:32 a.m. because I got up super-early to check the list.


But Random Acts of Crazy just happens to be on there, it turns out -- and at #70, no less!

This is my first time on a major bestsellers list, so all I can say is ::insert scream and dance of joy:: and, as always, THANK YOU to my wonderful readers. Off to celebrate!

You can find the books here:

Barnes & Noble
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