My two favorite words--well, maybe not favorites, but in the top ten? I get a little melancholy when I have a new release coming up, which is why I don't put out five books a year. I've learned since I first wrote The Point of it All that you have to let the baby go. It was hard that first time. It was mine, and I was very sensitive, the way a mother is with her kid. Over the years and a handful of books later, I'm getting better.
I published this latest with a new publisher, which means I've had to learn a new way, get comfortable with new people. The folks and Stormy Night Publishing are terrific, and I am very pleased with what we've come up with together. Korey Mae Johnson does a book cover like no other, and as I told her husband, James, I've never in my life said yes so fast to the first presentation to me of a cover. I hope you agree.
My latest, Stubborn Pride, was written as a love letter to the southern writers I have admired over the years: Pat Conroy, Dorothy Allison, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor. I love their voices, and the texture they give to their beautiful, flawed characters.
“We spent our formative years marveling at the lovely woman who recited the dreams of egrets and herons, who could summon moons, banish suns to the west, then recall a brand new sun the following morning from far beyond the breakers of the Atlantic. Science was of no interest to Lila Wingo, but nature was a passion. ~ from The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy
I tried to inject that kind of beauty, that texture, into heroine Ainsley Vaughn. I love Ainsley's spirit, and the way she carries herself despite the prickly relationship she has with her mother. I love where Ainsley comes from, a steamy, restless place steeped in history most don't like to talk about. Still, Ainsley carries the pride of her southern heritage on slender shoulders weighed down by a fierce drive to succeed, and a deep need to be understood and loved. Like most of us , I suppose.
Two-thirds of the story takes place in Los Angeles, where Ainsley is an Emmy-winning costume designer for a popular soap opera, and where the hero lives and works. After the show wins several awards, including one for the talented young Ainsley Vaughn, the cast celebrates out on the town, and when Ainsley and the star of the show get into an accident, and it turns out the star is inebriated, Ainsley tells the police she was driving, in order to save the star's reputation. That is when the formidable Rhys R. Merrick, esq., is called upon to sort out the mess.
He knows Ainsley was not driving that car, and he wants to know why she would take responsibility for something she had no fault in. As Rhys digs deeper, he finds an innocent girl underneath the talent and southern sass he finds so irresistible.
I loved writing Rhys. He's one of those alpha males who does not apologize for who he is, and he seems to be deaf to all the chatter about how a man--a modern man--should be. He is what he is: a talented lawyer, and a man who sees something in Ainsley worth getting to know. Not only is he deeply attracted to her physically, but he finds himself needing to nurture and protect her as much as Ainsley needs the very same. Rhys's past has hardened him. He is a single father, forced to take over the care and raising of his son, Adrian, since birth. He is particular about who he brings around, and he surrounds himself with loving, powerful women who love and care for both of these very alone, and lonely men. He keeps his people close and his walls high.
I loved playing with the character of Adrian, too. I have two boys of my own, and they are a marvel. Adrian is an amalgam of all the smart, intuitive 5 year olds I've known in my life, including my own, who are now 17 and 24. There is no limit to Adrian's love of people and the joy he feels, and that is due to the wonderful father he has in Rhys.
Geneva Blunt Abernathy, who is Ainsley's formidable grandmother, might be my favorite character of any I have written. She has lived a life most would envy and few could rival. She was Ainsley's savior during her childhood, and the scenes between the two of them, especially when they are caught eavesdropping on a familiar (in the TTWD genre) scene between Ainsley's mother and father, are among my favorites in the book.
The final thing, and the reason why fans pick up my books, is that Rhys sees nothing wrong with spanking some sense into Ainsley when he feels she needs it. As always, I struggle between too much in this area, and not enough. I can't have him whaling on her every other page; there's more to Rhys's story--and Ainsley's--than that. Still, their chemistry is wonderful, even when she is over his lap. Best kind of chemistry, in my opinion.
I hope you enjoy Stubborn Pride, and please feel free to email me with chat, questions, comments, and anything else. I love keeping in touch.
I need a character name for my current WIP, and YOU can help! The character in the book is a famous author and she will make one or two appearances in the story. Answer a question from my current release, RETURN TO BIG SKY, and you can name the character--either your name, or you can make one up and I'll use it. This contest will run until tomorrow night (Friday, January 6) at 6p.m. PST. You must post your answer here in comments, and the first one to get the answer right will win.
Here's the question: In RETURN TO BIG SKY, Chandler goes into a bar in town after a rather uncomfortable run-in with Jed's ex-wife at the pharmacy. She gets into pretty serious trouble with Jed because of this visit. What is the name of the bar, and what did Chandler drink?
THE GUNSLINGER’S WOMAN BY KELLY DAWSON
A hardened gunslinger, a sassy woman. Is his quick draw enough to keep her safe?
Amazon Buy Link: https://goo.gl/ercXLQ
The last thing nineteen-year-old Jeannie Cooper wants is to be a prim and proper lady, so when her older brothers try to send her off to finishing school she runs away from the family ranch to keep them from putting her on the train to Boston. She plans to hide out on the prairie and return in a few days, but things go horribly wrong when she stumbles upon the infamous Mullins gang.
Danny Coulter is a hardened gunslinger with more than enough enemies already, but when he sees a beautiful young woman held captive by outlaws his conscience forces him into action. Rescuing Jeannie turns out to be only the beginning of his troubles, however. Her sass and defiance quickly test the limits of his patience as he endeavours to get her home safely, and before long he is left with little choice but to take her over his knee for a sound spanking.
Though Danny's firm-handed discipline leaves her bottom sore and her cheeks blushing, Jeannie is nonetheless excited when her brothers offer him a job at the ranch. Soon he is courting her in earnest, and after a local busybody witnesses him giving Jeannie the first bare-bottom spanking of her life, Danny proposes marriage to avoid a scandal. But with the Mullins gang out for revenge, will his quick draw be enough to protect his woman?
Publisher's Note: The Gunslinger's Woman includes sexual scenes and spankings. If such material offends you, please don't buy this book.
Here's an excerpt (Note: You don't want to play with his guns.)
She reached for his gun, to remove it from the holster, so she could wipe it clean, then she froze as she remembered exactly what Danny was. He was a gunfighter. A killer. Entirely the wrong type of man to be lusting after. Danny didn’t wear a gun just for protection, as she and her brothers sometimes did; his guns were a part of him. They defined him. Without his guns, Danny Coulter, the fastest gun in the west, would be nothing.
“Leave it.” His command was hoarse, there was pain in his voice, but there was no denying the dominant manner in which it was said. “You bandage me up, I’ll clean my gun. Nobody touches my guns.”
“It won’t take long to clean it.”
“I said leave it.” His fingers took hold of her chin then, and he tilted her face up to look at him. “You know what will happen if you disobey me.” His threat rumbled in her ear, sending waves of electricity through her. Yes, she knew exactly what would happen. Her buttocks clenched again, involuntarily, at the thought, and she held her breath. The air was too thick to breathe again. She could feel her face flushing as the waves of electricity surging through her reached that aching juncture between her thighs.
“You’re hurt,” she pointed out.
He smiled in spite of the pain, his eyes crinkling up at the corners as he looked down at her. “Not too hurt to spank a naughty girl who disobeys.” As if to prove his point, he drew back his hand and smacked her bottom, reigniting the burn Her eyes widened in shock as she reached back to rub out the sting. Hurt or not, his hard hand was still strong. She felt a spasm right in her very core at his touch. His dominance turned her insides to mush.
The hand that had smacked her returned to her chin and he tilted her face sideways slightly so he could whisper huskily in her ear. “So leave my guns alone.”
“Yes sir,” she breathed.
Kelly Dawson loves anything to do with horses, rodeos and cowboys, and loves to get lost in a good book - preferably one containing spanking!
A life-long closet-spanko, Kelly started writing spanking stories on every spare scrap of paper in the house as a child. So when she discovered the internet and spanking romance along with it, she was most excited. But it took her a good decade of devouring these stories before she got up the courage to submit her own. And now, here she is, 7 books later, with a plethora of ideas still to write!
She lives literally at the bottom of the world in the South Island of New Zealand, with her husband, four kids, a dog and a cat.
My blog: http://www.kellydawsonauthor.blogspot.co.nz/
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/kellydawson
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/bRukkv
Congratulations, Kelly, on your new release!
Remember back in the day, when men were men and, well, women were...not? Remember those episodes of Donna Reed and I love Lucy? Do you find yourself wishing for those good ol' days, when a man wasn't afraid to give a lady a spanking, and the lady was resigned to it, if not downright willing?
Well, let me introduce you to one of my favorite authors, Stevie MacFarlane, and her latest release, A Timeless Woman.
I LOVE this book. I'm half-way through it and it is very different from her other work. There are elements of medical play, and of course lots of delish spankings. Here's more:
Despite her age, Marjorie Whitcomb is resigned to spinsterhood. One disastrous marriage has convinced her that the kind of man she wants does not exist. He is simply a figment of her imagination... and her fantasies.
Colton Mitchell has had Margie in his peripheral vision for two years. He always considered her 'quirky', with her vintage clothes and quiet manner. He never saw the real woman until he had to drive her home one night. From her vintage turquoise kitchen to her garter belt and stockings, he then realizes that she is a young woman with very old-fashioned ideas about love and marriage. And that's the very moment in which he decides that she isn't quirky, she is perfect!
But how close is Colton to Marjorie's idea of the perfect man?
Warning: This book contains elements of domestic discipline, medical play and anal play. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.
Colton laughed, breaking the tension in the room.
"My poor darling, you look positively terrified," he said, taking the chair beside her. "Are you afraid you're going to be spanked?"
"The thought has crossed my mind," she admitted shakily.
"For what? What possible reason could I have?" he asked curiously. Reaching for her hand, he rubbed his thumb across the back.
"I don't know. Sometimes you seem like a man who doesn't need a reason. Maybe just because you want to."
"Hmm, I admit having you over my lap, looking at your beautiful bottom is appealing, but, honey, I would never seriously discipline you on a whim. Unless you asked me to, of course," he said with a grin.
"And you think that's a possibility?" she snorted in a most unladylike way as she took a gulp of her drink. He was obviously thinking it over. Margie twirled her glass in her hands and avoided eye contact until he finally answered.
"Yes, I think it's a distinct possibility. I expect there will be times during our life together when you will occasionally feel neglected or at loose ends, so to speak. Times when I've been away on business or so busy at work I seem distracted or uninterested. While I'll never be indifferent regarding you, it's been my experience that it may seem so to you. If that happens, I expect you to come to me and let me know you need my undivided attention. I'll know what you mean. However, it would not be wise to do something outrageous to gain it. The results will be quite different, I promise you," he warned.
Margie knew exactly what he meant. She'd once gotten a black eye for just that.
"What is it?" Colton asked, concerned as color drained from her face. He watched her closely, his hand tightening on hers.
"Marjorie, please. I know there are things in your past you'd rather not tell me about, but…"
"Apparently there are things in your past too, if Dr. Sheldon is to be believed. Just what kind of games did you two play?" she asked, turning the tables on him.
"Monica and I had a very short-lived, but intense affair several years ago. Since then we've played a bit, but that's all it was, playing. She has several medical fetishes, it was something I also found enjoyable, and there was no reason not to indulge. Now there is," he said calmly.
"And that reason is?" Draining her glass, she held it out to him.
"You," he replied before going into the kitchen and returning with the bottle. Refilling her glass, he sat the bottle on the table and ran his hand down her hair, twirling the thick curl around his finger.
"So do you intend to play 'medical' games with me?" she asked, wishing her voice were not quite so raspy, wishing her body was not betraying her in the most deplorable fashion. The worst part was, he knew. She could feel it in the tightening of his hand in her hair, sense it in the satisfied sigh that escaped his lips. Releasing her, he moved back beside her. Placing both of his big hands on the table, he leaned forward.
"Yes, but there will be a difference, sweetheart," he whispered darkly. "With you, they won't be games." His head dipped and his lips absorbed her gasp before they vanished quickly and he stood straight and tall. "I intend to be everything to you, my love. Lover, husband, doctor, and if you're very naughty, at times I may seem like your father."
"If I'm willing?" she asked cautiously, fighting her own response to his words.
She didn't answer; instead she took her drink and walked to the window.
It hit him like a punch in the gut. The key word here was 'willing'. She was, but didn't want to be. She was afraid to agree. Despite how badly she wanted it, something in her past made her doubt her own judgment. Denial was apparently preferable to taking a risk with him.
Walking to her, he stood directly behind her, his face clearly visible over hers in the reflective glass.
"That's it, isn't it? You want to be controlled, forced, and coerced. That way nothing is your fault, there's no personal responsibility. You're just sweet little Margie, forced to orgasm by her big bad husband who demands her submission. That's your trigger," he marveled.
"No, it's not like that," she insisted vehemently.
"I think it is. What I don't understand is why you can't admit it. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Dominating you, taking you in any way I choose will be my greatest pleasure. All you have to do is say the word, but remember, it won't be turned on and off like a switch at your convenience. It will be a way of life, our way of life," he warned. "I'll never let you go," he growled into her neck.
"You will," she snapped, turning and pushing her hand against his chest to gain some space. "It will get out of hand. You'll get sick of me soon enough and then your punishments will reflect your disgust," she hissed, her eyes wild with panic.
"Sooner or later, your 'spankings' will turn into beatings, your 'love-making' into rape," she screamed, tears trailing down her face. "Discipline will become a form of torture for you as you grow more and more repulsed, until we hate each other with every fiber of our beings," she sobbed.
"Who did this to you?" he barked out, taking her arms and shaking her. Completely shocked he continued, "Who dared to take your gift and then treat you that way? Was it your husband? Was it Charles? I'll kill the son of a bitch with my own hands," he roared.
"He's dead," she replied, suddenly nearly emotionless. The empty glass fell from her hand and shattered on the slate floor.
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Stevie MacFarlane is a best-selling author of romantic spanking novels. She lives in upstate New York with her husband of many years. Visit Stevie’s Amazon Authors Page and follow her. You’ll be notified when new books come out. You can also sign up for her newsletter on her blog.
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JC: Conquered Brides is somewhat of a departure from other anthologies we see today. The idea that all the stories begin at the taking of a castle and its inhabitants, and that all of the characters are coming from the same place of reference is an interesting idea. How did you come up with this?
KMJ: I know that the idea of the plot came from a vacation that James and I took to Europe last June where we toured Southern Germany, BUT I actually can't remember whose idea it was to do the box set. It was either James Johnson (my husband and the head publisher at SNP) or Renee Rose. Maybe a mix of the two. James got Renee to spearhead the idea and lead the group. She set up a private facebook group for the lot of us to compare notes and ask questions, and we also had an editor who checked our books for consistency since we tend to use many of the same characters. We all chose characters, and I picked the queen, so I wrote the first 1500 words to explain why the war was going on and up to the point where all these women would be carried off and married instead of... you know... raped. Which was surely the more common practice back then. After that, we all went in our own directions.
JC: Renee Rose spearheading anything is probably the wise move. This type of thing takes some coordination. I know in some of the anthologies I’ve been involved with, where there was a theme running through the stories, there was quite a bit of coordination, and those weren’t nearly as complex as your idea. You’ve got Renee Rose, Sue Lyndon, Dinah McLeod, yourself and Ashe Barker whom, until now, I was not familiar with. How did you come up with such an eclectic group?
KMJ: That was all Renee! She put the team together for us and I was asked to join. I don't know her rhyme or reasoning at all, not even when I was asked to do it, which I hadn't anticipated, even when my husband ran the box set idea by her this last summer. I was definitely present when the idea started, but James and I come up with tons of ideas, but we don't incorporate ourselves into any of them. So it was a cool surprise when I was asked to participate.
JC: Did you talk a lot with the others while you were writing your story, or did you all stay pretty independent once the idea was formed and you wrote the set up—which was great, by the way.
KMJ: Thank you! We did a lot of column A, a little of column B. Mostly we just went for it, except to let people know if we were using each others characters or if they were going to do something crazy. At the end there was a little bit to clear up, like the bad guy getting caught, etc. Our editor had a LOT of patience. There were a lot of things we didn't think to ask each other that our editor had to fix, like people being in the same space without acknowledging each other. So it wasn't perfectly smooth, but for the most part we did our own thing, wrote in our own style, and told our own stories.
JC: And that is where a good editor is worth his or her weight in gold. I can see how very easily a character could show up in a scene, or in room, and what a problem it would be if character #1 didn’t acknowledge character #2. Was the plan to write these in any particular order, or did the editor or publisher decide what order the stories would appear?
KMJ: The editor and publisher is pretty much the same person in this particular case. (Editor meaning content editor not the copy editor--that was another person). So James Johnson decided. Mine had to go first just because I wrote the part where the general of the army grants that they won't rape the women in the kingdom; they would take them as wives. Other than that, he just had to choose the best flow.
JC: Well it works. Can you talk a bit about the stories and what influenced each, if you know? And let's talk about yours specifically. Was the story brewing for you while you were visiting Germany, or later?
KMJ: I don't know what inspired the others. It'd be so cool if the group could just sit down, have a cup of coffee, and talk about that. As it is, we had to work from the internet medium, which is traditionally more brief. I think that's the downfall of internet teams--they lack a lot of personal closeness. It can still be fun, but not like the fun or conversation you'd get from working with someone face-to-face. I definitely got my idea in Germany while I was there. It's hard not to when you get to explore around a castle (especially a non-guided tour when you can just let yourself mull over what you're looking at. Ideas just flow. Especially because it was mostly a vacation, and I tend to be able to relax and actually get creative. Even then, I don't normally plot out a story in its entirety. I think of the characters, the setting, and the situation. The rest just comes out later.
JC: So you've written quite a few books over the years but I understand fans are having a hard time finding them. What's going on?
KMJ: It's tough to get a hold of an eBook copy of Pursuit of Glory, Otherworldly Discipline, Never Submit, Learning to Blush, Christmas Awakening, and Earning a Christmas Bride. The publisher that held those books' rights released them back to me nearly two weeks ago. When those books were published, I didn't have an editor, and I felt like they weren't as polished as my more recent novels with Stormy Night. When I see that I have a new review for one of those older books, I worry that something will be said about the editing. I might know the rules, but I've never been good at editing my own work. I've read those older stories several times, but when I read them I often still find things I’d change for the sake of style or clarity. I think the problem with being one’s own editor is the author knows how they WANT it to be read, not how their audience would actually read it. So sometimes a self-editing author will breeze over a lot of things they would have caught editing someone else's work.
I think that that people who like my books feel like they get nothing but heartburn and indigestion out of me. I keep imagining that they look at my available books and say, "This list is getting shorter, not longer!" despite the release of The Conquered Brides.
I plan to give a couple of the books more of a reboot, anyway. Not just an edit. There are a couple of things I want to flesh out in some, smooth over in others. When I first started writing in 2007, there were some things about novel writing, such as perspective, that I didn't do very well because I didn't grasp some of the rules of writing novels that apply beyond grammar.
JC: I’d love to take a stab at some older work, too. I might follow your lead there. So, the above mentioned books are in your possession, and you plan to re-release them? Your fans are doing a happy dance.
KMJ: I hope so! Because they’re either doing that, or they’re sharpening their pitchforks.
I wouldn't worry too much about that, my friend. Korey, thanks so much for chatting today. This was fun.
The Conquered Brides by Renee Rose, Ashe Barker, Sue Lyndon, Korey Mae Johnson, and Dinah McLeod
When the castle they called home is besieged and ultimately falls, five women are captured and carried off as wives by their foes. Will they be treated as no more than the spoils of war, or can their new lords prove themselves worthy of the love and submission of their conquered brides?
The Conquered Brides is a five-book collection featuring brand-new titles from five top erotic romance authors. This collection includes:
Commanding the Princess, by Korey Mae Johnson
As the ruler of Hohenzollern Castle in name only, Susanna has watched helplessly for years as her power-hungry uncle made one enemy after another for her. One enemy stands out, and the moment she catches sight of him, Princess Susanna is certain that it will be Gerhard of Bavaria who brings her world down around her. As his army smashes through her gates, Susanna makes the only choice she has left. She surrenders herself to Gerhard, hoping to win mercy for her people, though she fears it will come at the cost of her life. But she soon learns that Gerhard has other plans for her, plans which may end with her surrendering much more than just her castle to him.
The Knight’s Seduction, by Renee Rose
Avowed to never again yield to a man’s ill-treatment, Lady Daisy stands ready to fight to the death when her castle is sacked. The imposing knight Sir Barrett has other ideas, however, and to her dismay, Daisy soon finds herself not only disarmed, but soundly spanked as well. Sir Barrett takes her as his captive bride, but when she shows real terror at the prospect of consummating their marriage, he offers her a bargain. She will offer her body to him and accept the pleasurable torments he inflicts, but he will not claim her fully until she aches for it so badly she begs him. Certain she will do no such thing, Daisy agrees, but can she resist the knight’s seduction?
The Widow Is Mine, by Ashe Barker
Since her husband’s untimely passing, Lady Natalia has resigned herself to a quiet life as a young widow and perhaps one day as a nun. But when her adopted home is conquered by the enemy, her world is turned upside down. After he rescues her from the chaos of Hohenzollern’s fall, Duke Stefan of Richtenholst cannot imagine allowing Natalia to languish behind the walls of a convent. The duke takes Natalia home as his wife, and he quickly proves himself ready to compel her obedience when it is necessary, but can he ever truly make her his own?
Conquering Lady Claire, by Sue Lyndon
As Hohenzollern Castle falls, mayhem unfolds around Lady Claire, and her only aim is to lead as many women and children of the castle to safety as possible. In an odd turn of fortune, her courageous efforts ultimately lead to her capture by none other than Lord Galien of Minrova, the very man that her brother, a powerful duke, recently commanded to find her and claim her as his wife. Claire’s defiance is quickly overcome by means of a firm hand applied to her bare bottom, but Galien is not content merely going through the motions of a political marriage. His skilled lovemaking soon leaves his new bride begging for more, but can he conquer her heart as well?
Kidnapped and Claimed, by Dinah McLeod
When her husband’s repeated infidelities and drunken insults become too much to bear, Lady Cecily flees to her childhood home at Hohenzollern, but things quickly go from bad to worse and she is kidnapped from the castle stables only moments after her arrival. Cecily ignores her abductor’s warnings of ruin about to befall Hohenzollern and his claim that he took her from the castle only to keep her safe. She resists him every step of the way, until at last he spanks her long and hard. Despite his firm chastisement, it soon becomes clear to Cecily that her captor cares for her in a way her husband never did. But can she forgive him for stealing her from her home?
Publisher’s Note: The Conquered Brides contains spankings, sexual scenes, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.
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Read a Longer Sample of Commanding the Princess by Korey Mae Johnson
Read a Longer Sample of The Knight’s Seduction by Renee Rose
Read a Longer Sample of The Widow is Mine by Ashe Barker
Read a Longer Sample of Conquering Lady Claire by Sue Lyndon
Read a Longer Sample of Kidnapped and Claimed by Dinah McLeod
I would like to extend congratulations to LaGina! She has won a copy of Coming to Terms, our first anthology. LaGina, and all our readers and supporters: I want to thank you all for supporting us and our new anthology, MILESTONES. The book is doing well, and the seven of us hope that continues. Most of all, though, we all hope you, our fans and supporters, like the book. Tell a friend!
It's here! It's here!
I'm so very proud to be involved in another project with six of my favorite people. Milestones was released on the day of LOVE, February 14, and it's doing very well so far.
Ooooh...good news! We seven authors will sponsor a drawing for one lucky reader each day to win a copy of our first anthology, Coming to Terms. Each author will excerpt from her story in the book. All you have to do is visit, read and comment.
TODAY is my day!
If you missed one of the earlier posts, you can still go back and catch up:
Renee Rose – February 14
Celeste Jones - February 16
Alta Hensley - February 17
Jade Cary - February 18
Cara Bristol – February 19
Sue Lyndon - February 20
Anastasia Vitsky - February 21
As their tenth wedding anniversary approaches, Kate and Jack Barrington are signing divorce papers instead of exchanging tin. Desperate to save their marriage, Jack holds Kate hostage at their mountain retreat, where happiness once reigned supreme. Can they move through the bad times and find love once again?
She awoke to the sound of blue jays nattering in the trees outside her bedroom window. She smelled coffee and wondered how that could be--
The dream still lay heavy against her chest. It was a recurring dream, since she had decided to file for divorce. The dream summed up the story of their life together.
She did smell coffee. She got up, slid her feet into her sheep-skin slippers and trotted out to the living room. She stopped dead in her tracks.
“Good morning.” He leaned against the kitchen counter, his arms folded over his chest, an arrogant look in his eye. Blankets and pillows were folded and stacked on the couch in the living room. He wore faded jeans and a black waffle-weave Henley. The way he stood caused the front of his jeans to bulge provocatively, and she found her gaze wandering from the bulge to his strong thighs, and back again. She finally forced her eyes to meet his.
“You’re like a bad penny, Jack: always turning up.” Kate came up along side him and reached into the cupboard for a cup, then poured coffee for herself. The smell of the coffee competed with the smell of him, and as always, the musky scent of him won out. “How did you get in, by the way?”
“Key. Nothing complicated.” He sighed, knowing his close proximity invaded her space, and not caring a damn that she felt uncomfortable. “You’re one stubborn woman, Kathryn. We’re going to work on that, too, while I’m here.”
“Uh-huh. Finish your coffee and get out.”
Jack tossed his head back and laughed. Kate dipped a finger in her hot coffee and, despite the pain it caused, flicked the warm liquid in his face. “Keep laughing, and you’ll be wearing this coffee.” She walked past him over to the kitchen table.
“That would be your third mistake,” he said, following her. He sat.
“My third,” she smirked. “What were my first two, out of curiosity?”
“Not letting me in the house last night, and this divorce.”
“Let it go, please.”
“Nope. I said we’re going to talk, and we are going to talk.”
She sighed and looked down at the old wood table she found at a local flea market when they first bought the house. In a previous life, it had been the front door to the tiny church of an old mission that had been destroyed in a fire. The door, mahogany and hand- carved, had remained unscarred. She saw it as an omen. The eight chairs, six of which were currently around the table, were a mish-mash of different styles and colors, found in various places, all having meaning to her. Jack hated the unmatched style. Kate loved the old, lived-in feel it gave the kitchen.
“Then get to it. The sooner you say your piece, the sooner you’re out.”
“You assume too much, lady,” he said, his voice low.
Kate caught his eyes and held them. “Why are you doing this?”
“I’ve told you already. Listening is something else we’ll work on.”
She gestured with her hands for him to commence with his speech, or whatever he had planned.
“I do not want this divorce, and I want to fix it.”
“And what about what I want?”
“You’re angry right now. I’d like to have a rational discussion with you about why I think we can make this work, but you’re not making it easy.”
“Easy? You want easy? Oh, well, why didn’t you say so? I’m nothing, if not easy. So, let me make this... easy. I owe you that much, don’t I?” She sipped her coffee and regarded him over the rising steam. “I was wrong, it was all me, I couldn’t have been a worse choice for you. This divorce? It’s all my fault. Had I been a better wife, paid more attention to you, listened more, we wouldn’t be in this mess. I hope in time you will find it in your heart to forgive me.” She stood and put her cup in the sink. “Now, get the fuck out of my house. And leave your key. This is my house now.” She strode past him, heading for the bedroom, but he caught her arm. Kate lifted her eyes to meet his. Normally a stunning clear, golden brown-amber, they were now black with rage.
“First, if I ever hear you say fuck again, I’ll put you across my knee and spank you so hard you’ll forget your own name.” He held her eyes hostage, the silence that punctuated his words almost worse than the words themselves. “Do you understand me?”
Kate’s upper body shuddered and then went ice cold, while warmth circulated down below her waist. Jack had never spoken like this before. She knew he did not like her to swear, and he was especially intolerant of her occasional use of the F-word. But, over the years those things seemed to become less important to him, until she said and did the very things he admonished her for now. She stood before him, flushed, mortified, and furious all at once. Her body betrayed her mind and won by a mile.
“Yes,” she whispered, her response automatic and out of her mouth before she could think of something a bit more clever to say. By the look on his face, clever would have been unwise.
“Second, we are going to have a mature conversation about our future, so there will be no more sarcasm. Got it?”
Kate simply nodded.
“Third, there’ll be no more walking away from me, especially while I am talking to you. I’ll grant you the same respect. Clear?”
Her mouth tightened into a thin line, and as she was about to speak, his pupils dilated and he said, “I want a yes or a no to this one, Kate. Nothing more. Am-I-clear?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
He loosened his grip on her arm. “Thank you,” he whispered back, and then one corner of his mouth turned up. It was not arrogance. It was not hubris. It was not the gloating smile of man who’d just won a round with a stubborn woman. It was a genuine smile of relief. “Now, please sit down.” With a gentle hand on her lower back, he guided her to the large worn leather club chair in front of the fireplace. He left her and returned with a fresh cup of coffee. Jack sat on the hearth of the fireplace and took her hand in his.
“Katie,” he began. “I’ve made a mistake.”
She glanced at him sideways and the chuckle escaped before she could stop it. “Ya think?”
Kate was famous for her sarcastic wit. Jack never appreciated that particular trait, and he was especially unappreciative now. He offered her the same look that the threat of a spanking accompanied a few minutes ago. She pled forgiveness with her eyes, and hoped he noticed, because it was all she would give him.
“Kathryn,” he said, looking down at her hand in his. “I love you, and I never stopped. And it’s clear that while I open my veins on one side, you’re going to take pleasure opening them on the other.” He stared at his hands. “I’ve never known you to be cruel.”
“I’m hurting.” Those words, that confession, caused tears to spring to her eyes.
“I know. And I’m sorry. I want to fix it. Will you let me?”
“I don’t think I can. I don’t think I care to.”
“I don’t believe that.”
Kate looked off into the expanse of the house... anywhere but in the whirlpool of his eyes, where she could, and would, get sucked in again.
“Will you let me try? Will you let me try to fix it?”
She shook her head as she dashed tears from her cheeks. “Why? Why now?”
“Because we were good once, weren’t we?”
I invite you to visit the other author blogs, read their excerpts and comment. And pick up a copy of Milestones. You won't be sorry.
The Sexy Seven are at it again, and this time it's all about the Milestones in our lives that mark change, that create new paths to explore, and that ultimately bring us together.
Cara Bristol, Alta Hensley, Celeste Jones, Sue Lyndon, Renee Rose, Ana Vitsky and yours truly bring you
Coming February 14, 2014
OCTOBER SOMETHING by Jade Cary
As their tenth wedding anniversary approaches, Kate and Jack Barrington are signing divorce papers instead of exchanging tin. Desperate to save their marriage, Jack holds Kate hostage at their mountain retreat, where happiness once reigned supreme. Can they move through the bad times and find love once again?
MAJOR CHANGES by Cara Bristol
Before her military husband left for Afghanistan, Cadence Simmons depended on Rahm’s love, guidance, and protection. But his service to his country forced her to become more independent and make decisions for herself. He’s home for good now and eager to resume where they left off. But Cadence isn’t quite sure she wants things exactly as they were before. Can a little domestic discipline help this loving couple through some major changes?
THE BARN by Alta Hensley
Determined to convert an old barn into the home of her dreams, Paige Holland returns to her small town after twelve years. She finds herself face to face with the man she never forgot. The same man who shattered her heart in a million pieces. The same man she never wanted to see again, yet also the same man she so desperately missed. Connor McNeil...her first true love.
MAKING IT 'WRITE' by Celeste Jones
Jill Carpenter is thrilled when her first spanking fiction novel is accepted for publication and a whole new life as a professional writer opens up for her. The only catch? Complying with her husband's rules regarding absolute secrecy and privacy.
A TIME TO HEAL by Sue Lyndon
Stephie’s cancer went into remission a year ago, but her husband, Marcus, still treats her like she’s breakable. They resume practicing domestic discipline, but Marcus has a hard time following through with punishments, leaving Stephie frustrated that it’s not the same as before her illness. Can they move past the fears that have built up between them to find the intimacy they lost?
UNMET DESIRE by Renee Rose
Watching his wife unravel as she faces infertility is as heartbreaking for Luis as it is for Claire, but the more compassion he shows, the more she drifts away. Deciding to take a firm hand, he whisks her away to their mountain condo for a weekend boot camp to reaffirm their roles and reignite their passion for one another.
THE FIRST SUBMISSION by Anastasia Vitsky
Bred to uphold duty and tradition from the cradle, rising legal scholar Sori shrinks from marriage and assuming the role of disciplinarian. Temper pot Karie longs for freedom as a First Responder and scorns the fusty Sori. In this prequel to Becoming Clissine, Karie and Sori must choose their own happiness. Can they find love in an arranged marriage?
I can't wait to read these myself! I'm so excited to a part of this anthology and have the privilege of working with these fine authors again.
I have a little story for you. It won't take long.
I've been writing for about ten years--not long in the world of published writing. Many have labored at their craft since they were kids. Me? I wanted to be a doctor.
I am a published crime fiction author. My agent prefers I pledge my allegiance to the Romance-Suspense genre. She thinks that sells better. What do I know? I'll go her way every time. During those few years that it took me to write my novel, raise a toddler and a tween, and then wonder what to do with the thing once I typed Finis at the end, I dabbled in a little secret passion of mine: Romance-with-kink. And the kink was spanking. I longed for the days of romance novels with the no-nonsense hero and the smart, feisty heroine. Sparks flew, and once in a while, so did his hand across her bottom. But mostly the books were about the romance. You don't find them anymore. I wanted to write that kind of romance, bring back what is now considered taboo.
So, here I was, with several short stories sitting in secret files on my computer. I'd shared some on a website, got some good feedback, but I wanted more. I wanted to share what I'd done with an audience who would appreciate what I was trying to do--and I wasn't doing it like everyone else.
I'm getting to the point of this post, I promise.
I took the leap and I sent out some feelers. I had a story I was proud of, one I really labored over, one I got so entrenched in that I was terrified to share it. It was violent. It was scary. The hero was far from perfect. And, at the end of the book, I did something I discovered later no romance author ever does. EVER. I hated it. I loved it. I feared backlash, I feared retribution, I feared being tossed out into the cold, never to be allowed into the fantastic club known as romance fiction. I took a chance. I sent the manuscript to a publishing house who likes this sort of thing. They strung me along and I got tired of waiting. I searched the internet, I looked at like-minded author's books and the folks who published them. I read Alta Hensley's Traditional Love. I liked it. I liked that a small publisher was willing to publish something like that, and still publish mainstream fiction. I took a deep breath, and then I took another chance.
I sent the manuscript to a little known publisher by the name of Lazy Day. A month later, I got this:
We just got done reading and evaluating The Point of it All. We are pleased to say that we absolutely loved it. It was well written, and the storyline made the book a real page turner. We at LazyDay Publishing would like to offer you a contract to publish your book. Congratulations and welcome to our team.
It was signed Staci Helling, now Staci Taylor, owner of LazyDay Publishing
Every published author carries tales of their first time, that unmatched thrill that someone likes your work, and they are willing to attach their name to it and get it out to the public on your behalf. The author gets excited, they say yes, they read the contract, then have their business savvy husbands read it again (Thank you, baby), they sign on the dotted line, and hope they haven't turned their love-child over to uptight, strap-wielding taskmasters who will rip it to shreds and remold it into something unrecognizable. That did not happen. In fact, Staci and her team worked the book over into something better, and then pushed it out into the world with firm but loving hands. Then they let me do it again. And again.
From an author's perspective, this is the gift of a good publisher. The kinship I feel with Staci and her team cannot be put into words well, so I will simply say this: Thank you, Staci Taylor and Lazy Day Publishing for taking me on, taking me in, accepting my input, allowing me to fail and forcing me to make it better, work harder, think outside the box, and express freely. And thank you for surrounding yourself with smart people who challenge me, make me crazy, make me laugh, and ultimately make me better.
Happy birthday to Lazy Day Publishing. May you continue to shine in threes.
I am so excited! That anthology I keep mentioning I'm so proud to be a part of? Well, it's HERE at last!
Seven authors, seven stories.
Summer means more than fun and sun, rest and relaxation. For the couples in Coming to Terms, vacation presents a chance to connect, and work through important issues in their domestic discipline relationships. From endeavoring to define DD to missing a DD partner to balancing erotic spanking and disciplinary spanking, these stand-alone stories penned by seven authors of spanking fiction cover a broad spectrum of issues commonly encountered in loving DD relationships. Will the obstacles prove too difficult to overcome? Or will each couple emerge from vacation with their relationships revitalized and stronger than ever?
I want to give a little shout out to my outstanding co-authors. It isn't often you get to work with consummate professionals whom you are also privileged to call friends. Ladies, I can't think of six people I'd rather work with.
Tomorrow by Ana Vitsky
This Moment by Alta Hensley
With or Without Him by Cara Bristol
Confession Time by Sue Lyndon
Spank and Run by Renee Rose
Reconnecting by Celeste Jones
Days with You by Jade Cary
DAYS WITH YOU
All of your favorites from The Point of it All (including Val, in flashbacks) return in this heartrending short story about love and loss, and about keeping dreams, and hope, alive.
Diana Kenyon-Rios arrives in Chile for the Christmas holidays--her first after losing her husband, Val. As she prepares to celebrate the holidays in Val's home country, she reminisces on her short but wonderful relationship and marriage to Val, and how she tried to come to terms with his...way. Not exactly a DD lifestyle in the truest sense, but let's face it--Val liked to spank an ass. Why? And why did Diana allow it? Did she benefit? Did he? Did it define their life, or did it take up a small, but not insignificant part of their relationship?
And as Diana attempts to reconcile his death with the life she must lead now, something keeps her from fully accepting that he is gone. She feels him in her bones so deeply, it is as if he is still alive Through intimate talks with friends and reminiscences, she finds a way to hold on to the greatest love she will ever know.
But will her dreams be enough?
And now, an excerpt from DAYS WITH YOU:
Dying is easy;
It’s living that scares me to death.
Diana stared out the window of the plane as it started its descent into Santiago. The snow capped Andes cast a late afternoon shadow over the city, its streets laid out in a perfect grid pattern. She held a glass of ice in her hand, absently chewing on the jagged chunks to stave off the pressure building behind her cheekbones as the plane decreased in altitude. The man sitting next to her cast worried glances as she bent over, the glass of ice pressed firmly against her forehead, her breath coming in hitches and then smoothing out into long waves, as if she possessed the power to stop the eruption in her head by simply breathing in, and out, and in, and out....
“More ice?” the flight attendant asked.
Diana raised the glass. “Please.”
“You okay?” the man beside her asked. He had engaged her in too much chitchat on the connector out of Dallas, but mostly he was quiet. He was a bland man, one who would get lost in a crowd, and stay lost. He was soft spoken and conservatively dressed. He wore a gold watch and no rings. Diana tried to avoid men who wore no rings. Not that rings kept them from talking to her, or worse. No. Rings did not seem to matter.
“My wife used to get those types of headaches when she flew. Whew,” he blew out, shaking his head. “They could be rough.”
Tall buildings built wide apart clustered in one section of the city. Santiago was brown-gray, like most cities, and a colorless haze hung over the buildings like a shroud. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the gold cufflinks holding the man’s shirt cuff closed. S. The letter S in black surrounded by gold. Cufflinks. His cologne, mixed with the masculine smell accumulated after a day on an airplane was cloying. The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, sat open and face down across his lap. A wife and no ring. Yes, she had seen that too—too often.
“Turns out it was brain cancer,” he said. “Yeah. Rough.” He sniffed once and then lifted his book. It shook in his hands.
It’s not a tumor.
Diana accepted the newly filled glass of ice with thanks, then pulled two small cubes into her mouth and sucked hard. She turned to the man as the plane touched down.
“Did she make it?” she asked. The loss of a loved one was not a badge worn by those left behind. There was no neon sign, no special sigh, no memo to others. Yet, those who had loved and then lost carried something in their eyes, like a Vacancy sign. Endure this, the sign blinked on and off. See if you can.
It’s not a tumor.
“No,” he said. “No, she didn’t.”
Diana stared out the window at the brown-gray landscape. The loss you know is better than the loss you don’t know. Someone said this to her after those hard, foggy new days of widowhood. She did not know how to take it, how to pull it all inside herself and make it work magic for her. No. She new little during those dark days, but one thing she did know for certain: bearing the loss was so much more excruciating than the wonder of it. Diana turned to the man and set her hand upon his.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” she said.
Jade Cary writes Romantica and Romantic Suspense, on the rocks with a twist. Bottoms up!
SITES I DIG
A FADED ROMANTIC
ALTA HENSLEY, ROMANCE AUTHOR
ART OF AUTHORITY
BASIA ROSE, AUTHOR
BLACK VELVET SEDUCTIONS
BOTTOMS UP BOOK REVIEWS
CARA BRISTOL, AUTHOR
CDD FOR LIFE/PATTY DEVLIN
CELESTE JONES, AUTHOR
THE DISCIPLINED FEMINIST
EMMA K. GARDNER, AUTHOR
FREDDY AND EDDY - A WEBSITE OF ALL COUPLES
THE HAND OF LOVE
HEART AND SOUL
THE IMPROVED CHAUVINIST
KARLA DOYLE, AUTHOR
KOREY MAE JOHNSON, AUTHOR
LAZY DAY PUBLISHING
MY BOTTOM SMARTS
RENEE ROSE, AUTHOR
SADEY QUINN, AUTHOR
SARADORA'S SPANKING FICTION
SUE LYNDON, AUTHOR
TROLLOP WITH A LAPTOP