Monday, December 31, 2012

Doggirl by Robin Brande

Doggirl (Print edition)I don't think I've ever read a YA novel in which I could relate to the heroine so well. Having grown up being bullied, similar to what this young girl faces, the parallels surprised me. Like myself, the girl turns to dogs.

"I don't get a lot of things people do. Which is why I prefer living as part of a dog pack rather than a human one. Every time I think I might have figured people out, it turns out to be a disaster."

Riley is fourteen and knows enough to keep to herself. But wanting to put "dog trainer" on her resume, she signs up for a school play that wants some well-trained dogs involved...and she and her dogs steal the show. I confess that at first I found it unbelievable that a girl at fourteen could be so knowledgeable about dogs, their habits, their packs, their communications, and could train all of them so well. But I figure anything's possible.

Through Riley's eyes, we see the world of human: odd, and the world of dogs: easy to understand. It's funny, cute, heartwarming, and I found myself cheering for her, hoping she would stand up for herself, find a friend, give people a chance, because I think that was the lesson here underneath the cute dog stuff: just because you've been hurt once, doesn't mean all people are out to get you.

And another one, spoken by one of the characters:

"You can let people tell you who you are, or you can tell them yourself."

Great read. I even got teary eyed toward the end, when she was watching a video put together by the camera guy.

The dogs and their tricks are absolutely amazing and the book has many a humorous spot. And something else I have to quote, just because I feel the same way about my pooches:

"My dogs are beautiful, but they're not "show quality." I wouldn't want them to be....All of my dogs are healthy and happy and complete joys to be around. That's what matters to me."

I wish there was a sequel. I'd like to see what happens to Riley and her dogs. 5 bikes. I bought this on Kindle.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash by Bev Pettersen

Thoroughbreds and Trailer TrashI'm a huge fan of Ms. Pettersen's books. This is my fourth one now. As usual, the story sucks me in from the get-go, keeps me guessing and wondering what's going to happen, and mixes mystery with real life very well, though this one  had a lot less mystery. I was surprised. It was more of a drama, less of a mystery, though it doesn't make it any less good.

Jenna is a tough cookie who has been through so much. Her parents are dead and she's solely trying to put her sister through college...a sister who is throwing the education away. Meanwhile, Jenna is forced to lie about her education to keep her job as a horse massager.

Horse massage, oxygen tanks, special lights...this book showed me a world I have never heard of before: horse therapy. That was really interesting to me.

Burke is at Jenne's place of work to make it run more efficiently and...well, fire people.

I had a very, very hard time liking Burke. To be honest, I never did grow to like him. He's way too bossy and controlling and I didn't feel he changed enough in the end for me to really like him. He looks down on people, says callous things, makes demands, and while I realized he needed to be that way for his job, I didn't like the way he instilled into his relationship with Jenna.

Jenna has a bad streak of dishonesty. I had trouble with that at times too, but I also saw where she was coming from. I could relate to her a lot more than I could Burke.

I thought she was awful blind regarding her sister though. Wanted to slap her the first half of the book. Jenna is pretty easy to walk on.

The mystery when it comes is around the owners of an elite and possibly impotent racehorse. But as I said earlier, there's very little of this. Most of the story is about who's getting fired, can Jenna keep her job?, will she get caught sneaking her pony in for stable services after hours?, etc.

Four bikes. I bought this on Amazon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dana Mason's Dangerous Embrace: Special Announcement

Dangerous EmbraceDangerous Embrace is $0.99 on Amazon from Christmas Day until New Year’s Day. Regular price $3.99.
Buy on Amazon

Sarah Jennings wants nothing more than a quiet life—alone.
Raised by an eccentric mother, their life on the road only taught her how to run away from hard times. But when she finds herself in an abusive relationship, this lesson serves her well. 

Now, back in her hometown, she's found a place she loves. She’s a first grade teacher, and with few friends and less family around, she has what she wants, a quiet life under the radar where she can be free of her past and live quietly. Finally comfortable in her own skin, she’s settled, and less fearful than she’s ever been in her life.

But it only takes one night and one act of violence for everything to change. Injured and afraid, Sarah wants to run again, but Mark Summors refuses to let her go.

Just when Sarah thinks she can have Mark and the life he promises, her past comes back to haunt her.

Mark Summors was born and raised in Santa Rosa. He married his high school sweetheart and never questioned his life, until he found his wife with another man.

Now divorced, he wants something more. He’s passionate about his job, he wants to protect people, and he devotes his life to it.

This time he’s protecting more than just another client, he’s protecting his future; at least, Sarah Jennings will be his future, once he convinces her she loves him.

Sarah pried open her heavy eyelids and turned, trying to focus on the clock. “Ow, dammit!” She clenched her teeth and looked down at the sling tied to her arm. The smothering realization pressed on her chest. When the nausea hit, she flung the covers off and rushed to the bathroom, fighting to get to the toilet before her stomach heaved.

When the painful dry heaving stopped, she lay back on the cold tile floor, exhausted, and waited for the room to stop spinning. Her ragged breaths roared in her ears and seemed to echo in the quiet room. When her breathing slowed, the silence ebbed around her in waves, but when footsteps approached the bathroom door, she tensed again.

A bead of sweat dripped down her scalp and at the same time someone tapped at the door. Her pulse spiked and she fought like hell to remember who brought her home from the hospital. 
She closed her eyes. “Who’s there?” The waver in her voice pissed her off. Gawd—please don’t let me be pathetic in front of whoever this is.

A hesitant and completely unfamiliar man’s voice said, “Are you all right? Do you need something?”
Sarah sucked in a hard breath. “Um…” She exhaled slowly. “Who are you?”

“Mark Summors.”

She stiffened and tried to sit up. “Do I know you?” she asked her voice pitching.

“I can explain if you open the door.”

She steadied herself against the bathtub. The sling had slipped up her arm, exposing the trail of bruises. She swallowed another wave of nausea and tried to put the pieces together. Mark Summors? She glanced around for something to use as a weapon just in case, then she wanted to laugh—and cry. Who the hell was she kidding? She rolled her eyes. Good plan, Sarah, take on a strange guy with a toilet brush

“Can I come in?”  His voice was muffled as if he was resting his face against the door.

“Go ahead.” She clamped her mouth closed to suppress a shiver, then said, “It’s unlocked.”

The door eased open and a cup of water shot out at her.

“Oh, thank you,” she cried out, relieved to wash the disgusting film out of her mouth. She snatched the cup out of his hand and gulped it, letting her eyes lift above the rim to see his face.

 “Ah.” Sarah choked and inhaled the water. She set the cup down, almost upending it as she dropped it. “Oh my God!” She would never forget those intense blue eyes, just like she would never forget the smell of her attacker’s breath. They were all thrown together in the same horrifying memory.

Dana Mason Bio:
Dana Mason started writing to prove to her computer geek husband and her math & science geek kids that she actually has a brain; it’s just a right functioning brain instead of a left. She’s lived all over the country and uses that experience in her writing and character studies. Her debut novel, Dangerous Embrace, is the first in a contemporary romance series about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don’t hold on to what’s important. Second chances don’t come easy…but sometimes love is worth the risk.
When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She’s also a board member on the local Art's Council and does what she can to support the art community.  
As an avid reader and movie watcher, she always requires a happily ever after ending.

Dana Mason links:
Twitter: or @danamason06
Sapphire Star Publishing Author page:
Goodreads Author Page:

Friday, December 28, 2012

This Race Called Life

Sometimes, I see a picture, and words just come to mind. And this is what happened here... It's not a happy piece, but I do believe it describes how everyone feels at some time or another. It's like poetry that doesn't rhyme.

My arms ache with a painful burn, yet I keep plunging on, in this never-ending race. My shoulders are sore from the constant lifting and pushing, from persistently shoving myself off, attempting over and over again to get started and then plunge ahead.

And yet, I seem to have made no leeway. I see others bobbing ahead of me, getting farther and farther ahead with each second.

“Don’t leave me behind,” I want to scream, “Don’t leave me alone. Please wait for me! I’m still trying!”

But they continue, because it’s everyone for themselves. The strong, the fastest, the most powerful will succeed. The weak get left behind.

I try once more. I press on the oars, forward and down, in a circle. Sweat beads my brow. I could scream, I am so tired.


I meet only hardness. I move not an inch.

Ahead of me, the others have disappeared.

I open my mouth to scream, but no sound comes out.

“Keep trying. Never give up. Row harder. Row faster. Row farther,” I hear people say in my head.

But how can I row when I’m still on solid ground?

Can I get a helpful shove please? A bit of a push?


Sometimes…I just can't cross the finish line.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Willow Bradley

Book: The Weeping Willow Tree
Author: Lacie Nation
Heroine: Willow Bradley

Willow Bradley is a tough southern woman. She suffers from a lifelong battle with depression, but doesn't let that define who she is. Willow puts her feelings into her music and loses herself in the only place she feels any peace at all, the weeping willow tree. On the days when it hurts to think about getting up because of the suffocating sadness she feels, Willow gets out of bed and fights through the day. Some days are better than others, but no matter what, Willow Bradley puts her feet on the ground and never gives up. Her love for Danny and the need to protect what's hers are what drives Willow. There is nothing in the world she wouldn't do to protect the one she holds nearest to her heart.
The Weeping Willow TreeWillow Bradley lives her life as simply as she can. Playing the guitar and singing her pain away, she finds peace under her shade tree by the lake in her small town. Her entire life has been a struggle not to let her depression control her life. Overcoming her issues was something she was proud of. Her life was just as she wanted it until the breath taking Danny Mason walked into her safe haven. Can she put her pain aside and love a man who has secrets of his own?

Danny Mason wants nothing more than simplicity. His life is full of greed and the constant need to be perfect. What happens when he hears an angel singing under a lone weeping willow tree on the lakeside? Danny and Willow share a deep, all consuming love. Will it survive the chaos his social status, and high society parents cause?

Are you an author with a strong heroine in your book? Want to see her featured? Find out how here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Helen's Holiday Tale Part Four

Welcome back to the final installment of Helen's Holiday Tale. 
 Part One can be found

“Mrs. Bakerson, I feel it’s my duty to tell you this may not be the best business decision. Cripple Creek has a skating rink. The pond freezes over and—”

“I know that darned pond freezes over!” Helen slapped her palm down on the lawyer’s desk, regretting it as pain shot through her arm. No matter. She was old. Whoopie. “It’s cold, though! And it can’t be used year round.”
“Your husband left you a lot of money, but—“
“Well, I didn’t ask you for your opinion, did I? Just get me the land and get me the workers and whatever else I need. I know the money is there. I haven’t spent hardly a dime the last ten years!”
“All right, Mrs. Bakerson.” The lawyer waved his hands in a placating gesture. “Don’t have another heart attack. I’ll see to it, but it won’t happen overnight.”
Helen scoffed. “Just see to it, you young man.”
Jaw firm, mind set, Helen left the lawyer's office. It was a new year, a new chance. She was going to make the most of it.
Helen Bakerson sat on a front row spectator’s bench in Cripple Creek’s newest facility, the Bakerson Arena. It officially opened today for public skating, with every other hour given over to lessons from the experts she’d hired. Hockey teams could now practice and play regardless of the weather. Her George had so loved hockey. She wiped a silent tear from her face, secure in the knowledge that the next time her ticker gave out, she’d be with him.
George again. Even her will had been redone. Instead of going to the church, any funds available at her demise would be placed in trust to keep up the arena.
Her house, where she and George had lived and loved, would be turned into a youth hostel. She’d be taking care of ‘her kids’ from beyond the grave.
“Mrs. Bakerson, come skate with us!” Mindy reached for Helen’s hand. “Lucy will hold your other side so you don’t fall.”
“Oh, I don’t know, girls.” Helen smiled at the nine-year-olds. “I’m so old…”
“My mom says you’re only as old as you feel.”
“Well, when you put it that way…” Helen smiled and stood on shaky legs. She used her walker for support, but as soon as the little girls had hold of each of her hands, she left it behind and headed toward the ice. A crowd of people waited for her, reaching out to guide her. A chorus of “be careful, Mrs. Bakerson” rang in her wake.
She already had skates on, though she’d had no intention of using them. It was all for show, but what the heck.
To her surprise, she actually slid across the ice. She wobbled at first, and many skating bystanders reached for her in fear she was going to fall, but she did it, thanks to Mindy and Lucy clutching her tightly.
Helen laughed as she glided, and the little girls tugged her into a slow circle. Briefly, for just a second, she thought she saw a man at the end of the rink, his dark slicked down and part at the side, a red scarf around his neck…
She sent him a silent message. I’ll be ready next time, George. Come back for me, you hear?
He smiled and nodded his head before sliding backward off the ice, only instead of disappearing altogether into the throng once he reached the stands, he simply became a blur and faded.
“Look, Mrs. Bakerson!” Mindy pointed to the ice, her girlish excitement contagious.
Helen complied, gasping in surprise. There, in the center of the ice, someone had etched a heart. Inside it was the name Helen.
“Wow. Someone has some mad skills, Mrs. Bakerson,” Lucy gushed in amazement.
“Indeed, they do, my child. I wonder who it was.”
I love you, too, George.

Thank you for joining me for this Holiday Tale. Have a great new year! Here's turning over new leaves. Remember...make the most of it. :)

If you liked Helen's Holiday Tale so much you want it on your kindle to read again, it is available on Smashwords in any format you may need, and better yet, you set the price.

Gearing Up for the New Year with Nona Raines *adults only*

**This post is for adults only.** 

Thanks so much, Tara, for sharing your blog with me today!

Most of us look at the New Year as a chance for new beginnings. Isn't that what New Year's resolutions are all about?  Whether we're promising ourselves we'll lose weight, save more money, or get to bed earlier, the New Year offers a clean slate where we can all get a fresh start.

Many different countries have New Year's celebrations. To celebrate Hogmanay in Scotland, neighbors and friends visit each other shortly after midnight. The first person to set foot inside the door should be a tall dark man (like our favorite romance heroes?) to bring good luck all year.   This is known as "first-footing".  The song "Auld Lang Syne" that we're all so familiar with was inspired by a Scottish folksong and transcribed by the famous Scots poet Robert Burns and published in 1796. It became popularized by Canadian born bandleader Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, who first played played it at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929.

In Japan, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times at midnight, December 31, symbolically to get rid of 108 kinds of human sin and weakness. Shogatsu (or Oshogatsu) is considered the most important holiday in Japan. People send New Years cards to friends and relatives and parties are given to "forget" the old year and start the coming year anew.

Certain foods are associated with the New Year, as well. In Spain, it's customary to eat twelve grapes as the clock strikes midnight, to ensure twelve happy months in the coming year. In Greece, New Year's Day is also St. Basil's Day. A special cake is made with a coin or token inside. Whoever gets the lucky piece is assured a fortunate new year. In the southern U.S., a dish of black eyed peas known as Hoppin' John is prepared and eaten to bring luck in the new year.

A New Year can also bring a chance for new love.  Jordan and Kyla, two of the main characters in my latest book His and Hers and Hers are in love and totally committed to each other. They're surprised, then, to find themselves attracted to someone new, their friend Cassie. But can they be honest about their feelings without hurting each other? And if they invite Cassie into their relationship, how will their love be changed?

Here's a little more about the story:
Kyla Denster and Jordan Brougham are passionately in love. Kyla knows she's lucky to have a guy who uses all his tricks to keep her happy in and out of bed. Jordan knows he's lucky to have such a hot, adventurous girlfriend.

But neither of them knows that their best friend, Cassie DeSantis, wants them both. Cassie's painful past has taught her not to wear her heart on her sleeve.  She keeps quiet, afraid that revealing her feelings would mean losing the two people she cares for most.  Things change one night when an impulsive kiss leads to the three of them spending an incredibly hot night together.

When the couple wants more of Cassie, she leaps at the chance to be with them. But problems arise at her insistence that no one mention the L word and when Jordan and Kyla clash over how to deal with disapproving family.  Their triad relationship will only survive if they all stand together to prove that three is the perfect number—when all three are in love.

     Excerpt from His and Hers and Hers: *ADULTS ONLY*
     She heard Jordan’s low rumble and Ky’s giggle. Then Kyla’s voice came from the doorway. “Cassie.”
     Cassie’s mouth went dry. Kyla stood there wearing nothing but a tiny black thong and an impish grin. Her hard brown nipples pointed straight at Cassie and her generous breasts begged to be caressed and kissed. Cassie’s own nipples tightened in response.
     Kyla’s eyes flashed as though she knew exactly how turned on Cassie was. Her smile hitched a little higher. “Dessert is now being served. In the bedroom.”
     Cassie pushed back her chair and rose, her body tingling with anticipation. Kyla beckoned her with a crooked finger and Cassie followed her down the hall. When they reached the bedroom, Kyla stopped.
     “One thing. Entrance here requires special dress. Or undress, I should say.” She smiled. “Let me help.”
     Ky assisted as Cassie stepped out of her shoes, socks, and pants and peeled off her top. When she stood only in her bra and panties, Ky stepped in close. “I’ll undo your bra.” Her warm breath tickled Cassie’s neck, her bare breasts, and hard brown nipples teased Cassie’s skin as she wrapped her arms around Cass and unfastened her bra.
     “You can keep those on…” Ky traced her finger down the seam of Cassie’s pink bikini panties. “For now.”
     Cream drenched her pussy at the wicked promise in Kyla’s tease. Ky took her hand and drew her through the doorway. “Come on.”
     Jordan sat on the bed, in a pair of black briefs, already distended by his rising cock. Dark hair dusted his chest, and Cassie’s fingers itched to feel its texture, and the warm skin underneath. More than that, she wanted to caress the bulge that grew bigger the more she stared. His green eyes were bright, his expression dreamy. His smile, the smile she loved, still hitched up a little higher in one corner. “Hey, Cass. Ready for dessert?”

Poor Cassie.  She doesn't know how to let down her guard. She's had a rough upbringing and has been hurt so many times she's erected a tough wall around her heart. She's someone who truly needs to "forget the old year" and cleanse the hurtful memories of the past so she can begin a new year, and a new life, with a clean slate and a whole heart.

We're still in the midst of the holiday season, and I hope everyone reading this has a joyful time with family and friends. Thanks again, Tara, for having me here. And I wish you all a Happy New Year!

His and Hers and Hers is available at:

Loose Id


All Romance ebooks

Nona Raines
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Helen's Holiday Tale: Part 3

Welcome back to Helen's Holiday Tale! Here is part three. If you missed part or part one or two, go back and read those first, or  you may be a tad lost! LOL

Part One

Part Two

And Happy Holidays!

“She’s back!” A man’s voice, not George’s.
Helen blinked rapidly and stared at the man leaning over her. He was a young whippersnapper wearing an EMT outfit. What had he done? Had he brought her back? The damn fool!
But, wait…she had things to do to make things right again. Her strange conversation with George came flooding back to her at the same time her blood starting pounding through her veins again.
“Mrs. Bakerson, you gave us quite a scare. Can you hear me?”
Helen tried to move her head, but it was hard. She felt so weak and strange.
“I think you can, Mrs. Bakerson. You’re very lucky. Mindy and Lucy found you. If it wasn’t Christmas day…”
What the heck was the man nattering about? Helen groaned and reached weakly for him, but found her arms wouldn’t cooperate.
“We’re taking you to the hospital. Hang tight, okay,” the EMT just kept chattering.
Helen was lifted very gently by two medics and carried slowly out her front door. From the corner of her eye, she saw two frightened looking girls—the same girls she’d yelled at earlier for being in her yard. Both girls were sniffling and rubbing their eyes with their mittened hands. What was wrong with them?
Suddenly, the blue-eyed one stepped forward and held out a card to one of the EMTs. “Will you give this to her when she gets there and is better? It’s a Christmas card we made for her in school. We’ll save the cookies until she comes back.”
“That’s a good idea.” The EMT reached for the card and tucked it into his vest pocket. Helen saw there was a childishly drawn snowman on the front of it. She felt a tear slide down her cheek, but she couldn’t will her limbs to move to wipe it off. They were still as frozen as the ice she had just skated on. Or had that been real? Her body felt so heavy. Everything was strange. “And yes, keep those cookies until Mrs. Bakerson is better. She’ll be eating hospital food for a while.”
“And you girls did the right thing,” the other EMT added. “Calling 911 like you did when you found Mrs. Bakerson was smart.”
The little girls merely nodded, their eyes wide.
“Poor old lady shouldn’t have been digging around in her attic,” the first technician continued talking to his partner as they loaded Helen—unceremoniously in Helen’s opinion—into the back of a waiting ambulance.
I wasn’t digging around in my attic, you whippersnappers!
“I know. What was she planning to do? Take them old ice skates to the lake? She wouldn’t have lasted five minutes out there.”
Old ice skates? They must have been George’s, because hers were long gone. Helen smile, closed her eyes, and rested.

Don't worry, readers, she's not dead! Come back tomorrow to find out what Helen does in the new year.

Menace Under the Mistletoe by Lisa Greer

Menace Under the MistletoeMy Holiday read for this year surprised a good way. I was expecting a frightening, give me goose bumps tale with just a touch of romance. Now, it wasn't as frightening as I hoped, but the romance is cute and believable and there's no sex, which pleased me. *Hey, there's comes a point, especially if you're an editor in the romance industry, when you get oversexed. When everyone copulates 5 times per book and you read at least three books a week, that's a lot of copulation!*

What surprised me was the serious issue touched on in this short story. The heroine goes to her aunt's, who is dying, for Christmas. There's an undercurrent of..."who is inheriting, him or me?" as she meets a "cousin" she didn't know she had. Then there's a strange man on the premises who's supposedly helping her aunt with her spiritual stuff.

Though attracted to her "cousin", one thing stops Lambert from pursuing anything with him: he's a psychiatrist and she has a secret she doesn't wish to reveal. She has an eating disorder and major self esteem issues.

As a reader, I've grown sick and tired of the lack of serious issues in books. I'm not that into fluff. So I appreciate Ms. Greer's bringing up of an issue most prefer to sweep under the rug. I got a drastic and surprising look into a disorder I'm not real familiar with.

The story takes place the week before Christmas and there's a tree, snow, lights, and Holiday songs, but it's not so Christmassy that one can't read and enjoy it at any time of the year. The mystery was predictable, the romance just the right amount, and the issue underneath it all super important. The ending isn't pit-pat, but realistic. The heroine can find happiness, but she must do it on her own. A man won't do it for her.

Four bikes. I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Helen's Holiday Tale: Part Two

The second installment of Helen's Holiday Tale. The first can be found here.

“Helen, Helen, get up, darling.” She felt hands grip her elbows and tug at the same time the male voice penetrated her consciousness. Helen gasped and opened her eyes, blinking at the sun glaring off whiteness all around her.
“Oh, my stars,” she declared as soon as she could breathe again. “I have no idea what happened to me there.”
When her eyes adjusted, she saw all the whiteness was snow. No big surprise there. Cripple Creek saw a lot of snowfall in December. But what was she doing outside? And why was her butt hurting?
“Get up, Helen. Skate with me.”
“What? I’m too old—” Helen looked to her right, where the voice was coming from. A man stood before her. He was handsome and young. His dark hair was parted on the side and slicked down. His blue eyes were filled with concern. He sported a pair of slacks and a white sweater. A button shirt peeped out of the V-neck. A red scarf Helen knew very well was wrapped around his neck, the end trailing off behind him. She’d knitted that scarf with her own hands sixty-three years ago. A pair of ice-skates topped off his outfit.
“You’re not old anymore,” the man or vision said with a smile.
“George. George, is it really you? Have I died and gone to Heaven?” Helen reached a hand out to him, shocked to see the wrinkles and age spots had disappeared from its surface.
“Not quite, but it’s me.” George reached for her then, and she allowed him to grasp her hands and pull her up. She wobbled momentarily on the ice. She looked down at her feet in surprise. She, too, was wearing ice skates…and a skirt! It had been a long time since she’d worn a skirt. Tights, too.
Why, she was dressed just the way she had been that day so long ago…
“George?” She grasped his arms above the elbows, marveling that he was a solid man. “Is this…is this 1950?”
George nodded. “It is. Do you remember?”
Helen thought she would cry with happiness. “Yes! Yes, I do remember. It was Christmas, and I made you that scarf.” She touched the red scarf around his neck. “And you wore it every day in winter until the day you…”
“Died. Yes, I know, Helen.” Her George sounded so grave and serious. Why wasn’t he happier? They were together again!
“George, you left me too soon!” Helen scolded him as she allowed him to lead her across the ice. His right hand was stretched across her front, grasping her own, and his left pulled her across his midsection, and together, they glided. Helen was amazed at how little effort it took to do something she hadn’t done in decades. She threw her head back and breathed in the scent of pine and firewood burning. Icicles hung from the trees, and tiny snowfalls fell around them, melting as soon as they landed upon their clothing.
“Helen, I didn’t have a choice. It was my time.”
“Well, it’s mine now. I spent ten years alone, George!” She tried to keep the accusation from her voice, but found she couldn’t help it.
“No, it isn’t.” George shook his head as he twirled her in a circle.
Helen laughed at the sensation, at the sight of trees blurring in front of her eyes. “George,” she said as they came to a stop once again and she caught her breath. “I’m with you again. It’s the greatest gift a woman could ask for!” She threw herself into his arms. She felt blissfully happy, elated. All was right in her world once again.
He kissed the top of her hair—no longer gray she’d noticed, as it had blown across her face whilst spinning, but her dark curls from so long ago. “Do you remember what else happened this day?”
Helen just wanted him to shut up and kiss her on the lips as he used to, but she indulged him. “I gave you that scarf; we came skating, and you proposed. It was the loveliest Christmas ever.”
“It was,” he agreed, “and we made a lot of plans, plans for our future and goals.”
Helen felt a pang stab her heart, and she feared she was having another heart attack though she was already dead surely. “Well, those things didn’t come to pass, so let’s not dwell on it.” She rose on tiptoe and sought his mouth with hers, only he held her out of reach, his hands on her shoulders.
“Helen, we planned to have children, lots of them, but it didn’t happen.”
Suddenly, Helen felt cold and shivered. “George, why must you rehash—“
“We were taught not to talk about such things back then, Helen, but you need to know something.” George paused, his blue gaze intent on her face, a pleading in their depths. “It wasn’t your fault. I know you always blamed yourself, but it wasn’t your fault.”
“What do you mean?” Oh, why was he talking about this after all these years? So, they hadn’t had children, and yes, she blamed herself, but what did it matter now? In the end, they’d had a wonderful marriage, made stronger by their lack of children—she thought.
“When I was in Korea, I was wounded.”
“I know that.” She clutched his sweater in her fists.
“I was the sterile one, Helen, not you.”
“Oh.” A rush of air escaped her as her shoulders slumped. It hadn’t been her. She hadn’t been the reason their dreams hadn’t come to fruition. All this time, she’d blamed her infertile loins, had cried huge tears of regret. Back in their day, fertility wasn’t bandied about and made dinnertime discussion, and ten thousand dollars had been a year’s salary for many. Young people now talked about it constantly, their fertilization efforts and ovary temperature. It was distasteful. She’d suggested adoption once, but George had gotten angry at her insinuations they couldn’t have one of their own. Now she knew why. George had been ashamed and embarrassed. “Why tell me now, George?” To her great surprise, she felt no anger, but relief. It hadn’t been her fault.
“Because I was wrong in not telling you sooner. When I died, you were all alone, and you became a bitter, old crone.”
Helen felt as though she’d been slapped. “Of all the nerve!” She struggled to pull free of him.
“Helen, you aren’t the woman I married. The woman I married was full of life, laughter, joy, hopes. You used to welcome all the children into our home, bake them cookies, tie their shoelaces. Our home was always filled with cheer. Now, you yell and curse and hate. You hate what you never had. It’s bitterness, Helen. You can’t keep hating and lashing out at others over something you can’t control.”
“I…I don’t know what to say.” And she didn’t. What could she say? He was right, but it was too late to change things. She was who she was. He’d left her alone, and she hadn’t known how to handle it.
“Do you want this all the time?” George made a sweeping gesture, encompassing the area around them, the frozen lake, the trees with their twinkling lights, the glistening snow. “Do you want to be young and in love with me forever and ever? Skating in eternal bliss?”
He’d asked her those same words sixty-three years before. Helen hurried to give him the very same answer. “I do. I do!” She reached for him again, desperate, eager to be in his arms. “I’ve missed you so much!”
“Well, see, it’s like this, Helen. Your bad deeds are overshadowing your good deeds, and if you don’t change that, you won’t come here.”
“Is this about going to church? I attend—”
George interrupted her by placing a finger on her lips. “No. That has nothing to do with it. It’s about who you are in here.” He dropped his finger to the space above her left breast. “It’s about how you treat people. You can sit on a hard church pew all day, every Sunday, but it doesn’t do you any good if you’re not a good person. It’s not about what religion you practice—if any—or how many scriptures you read. It’s about treating others as you want to be treated. Just be a good person, like you used to be.”
Tears welled in her eyes. She knew he was right. Without George by her side, she’d forgotten the most basic rule of humanity. But how could she fix it?
“I want you with me, Helen, just as I did long ago. Do what you have to. Make things right. I love you.” George leaned forward then, and their lips finally touched. They felt as they always had, warm and possessive against her own. She opened her mouth under his and welcomed him.
As their tongues touched, she remembered he had kissed her this way right after his first proposal, too, and it felt exactly the same. Her insides threatened to melt into a puddle of mush despite the frigid air surrounding them.
But all too soon, the feeling faded away. He faded away. She reached for him, but found only air. Someone or something was beating on her heart. It hurt so bad.
“No!” she tried to call out, but choked.
The white light appeared again, blinding her.

Come back tomorrow for more of Helen's story.

A Momentous Announcement From Victoria Vane

A Holiday Greeting and Momentous Announcement from Victoria Vane:

When I first conceived A Wild Night’s Bride, a Georgian set, Hangover-inspired romantic comedy, I had no idea that one devilish secondary character would spawn an entire series, but Ludovic, Viscount DeVere, proved to be a dream come true. This larger than life character has captured the hearts of so many fans who have begged for more DeVere. In response to these requests, I have not only decided to continue the series, but have recently commissioned an amazing artist to render gorgeously detailed full color illustrations for my DeVere stories! My goal is to offer a wonderfully enhanced reading experience to fans of my series.

The first book to be illustrated (and just in time for all those glorious full color and graphics capable Christmas e-readers), is Devil in the Making, a riotous Georgian romp in the tradition of Fielding's Tom Jones and a prequel to the Devil DeVere series.

The Illustrated Edition will feature a gorgeous depiction of the key scene in every chapter. If this experiment is successful, I will be illustrating the entire DeVere series (old and new) over the next 12-18 months. As a holiday greeting, I am attaching a sample of the absolutely stunning photorealistic artwork that will grace the new book cover as well as the inside pages! Devil in the Making: The Illustrated Edition will be available in e-book early December 2012. A print anthology will follow later in 2013. Now, without further ado…. Here is how it all began….

Devil in the Making: A Devilish Vignette by Victoria Vane
Every devil has a beginning... A rebellious young nobleman's prank with the king's lion goes comically awry, leading to a startling chain of events.

"But I know that look, DeVere, and it always bodes ill."
"Come now, Ned," DeVere cajoled. "With only weeks until matriculation, we may never get another chance to serve up some revenge on ole' Trasker."
"What have you in mind?" Simon asked.
"Since our dear pedagogue is so fond of bear-leading, why not procure one for him?"
Ned looked stunned. "You wish to buy a bear?"
"Of course not," DeVere answered.
"Thank God," Ned replied with a sigh of relief.
"I only wish to borrow one."
"A bear?" Simon repeated.
"Yes. It can be a small one. As to age, size, or gender. I am not particular."
"And how do you propose to find one?" Ned asked warily.
DeVere replied with a look of pure devilment. "I propose a midnight foray to the Royal Menagerie." (end excerpt)

Warmest holiday greetings,
Victoria Vane

A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft romantic historical novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism. Ms. Vane also writes award nominated romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee (

Twitter: @authorvictoriav

In E-BOOKA lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft romantic historical novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism. Ms. Vane also writes award nominated romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee (

Twitter: @authorvictoriav
A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft romantic historical novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism. Ms. Vane also writes award nominated romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee (

Twitter: @authorvictoriav

A Breach of Promise ,Ellora's Cave

A Wild Night’s Bride, Breathless Press
The Virgin Huntress, Breathless Press
The Devil You Know, Breathless Press
The Devil’s Match, Breathless Press
Devil in the Making, Victoria Vane
Treacherous Temptation- coming soon from Entangled Publishing

The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee, Sourcebooks
Fortune’s Son by Emery Lee, Sourcebooks
The Devil DeVere Volume I by Victoria Vane, Breathless Press
A Devil Named DeVere by Victoria Vane, Breathless Press