The closer we get to Lewisburg, the more keyed up I feel. Lucy had the driver stop at a Starbucks, so I feel slightly more human now. Curiosity is what’s really fueling me. Using a compact mirror, I touch up the makeup that was smudged by our harrowing overnight train ride and smooth my hair. Lucy raises an eyebrow at me but says nothing, and the driver lets us pick songs from his iPod. Not a bad deal, considering he made me waste my cigarette.
And then suddenly we’re in Lewisburg, and the Escalade pulls up in front of the entrance to a Days Inn. A man paces out front, his hands shoved into the pockets of his coat. Long brown hair that’s nearly black frames his face, and he’s got a beard, so I can’t really make out his features. But he’s big.
Not in a heavy way. He’s tall and broad. Even with that bulky hand-me-down coat, I can tell he’s built. It’s like I’m psychic and imagined him into being. Biting my lip, I stifle a giggle. For all I know, he’s really ugly and has a beer gut.
It really has been too long since I’ve gotten laid.
Lucy pays the Uber guy, we grab our luggage, and then the three of us are standing in front of the motel.
“They kicked you out?” she asks him.
He looks up, and depthless brown eyes meet hers. Despite the massive amounts of fur on his face, he’s handsome.
There’s a scar next to his eyebrow that’s more like a pocked hole. It looks like someone bludgeoned him with a big rock. They probably did. But the rest of his face is intact—no teardrop tattoos or anything like that. His eyes are surprisingly soft and kind. When he smiles at Lucy, it lights up his whole face.
I decide he definitely went to jail for selling drugs, and wonder how long before he’s connected again. I could use some bud.
“Checkout was eleven,” he says with a shrug. He peers at her, almost timidly. “You look good, kid.”
Kid? I blink. Squinting, I examine him more closely. I note the lines at the corner’s of his eyes and the dark circles underneath them. He’s got to be in his early thirties, maybe older. I pluck my pack of cigarettes from my pocket and light one, exhaling smoke into the air.
“Olivia,” Lucy says, exasperated. She gestures toward the motel entrance, as if someone is going to walk out into my cloud of smoke any second. The parking lot is practically empty, the place desolate.
“Yeah, Olivia,” Cliff says, eyebrows lifted. “Sharing is caring.” He holds his hand out for one.
A grin spreads across my face. Resisting the urge to stick my tongue out at my sister, I hand him the pack and my lighter.
He lights up, and his entire face relaxes as if I just took his cock into my mouth instead of sharing a cigarette. Putting my own cigarette between my lips, I stuff down the giggle that is bubbling up. I really am sleep deprived.
“Been a while?” I ask when I get myself under control. Even that statement is dangerously close to twelve-year-old humor. I take another drag.
Cliff nods and smokes thoughtfully for a minute. His eyes never leave mine. They’re a deep brown, but so warm—like redwood. “It’s been twenty years since I had a cigarette that wasn’t stale. But that’s not all I’ve been missing.” He grins, a devilish smirk that shoots straight to my lower abdomen. The implication behind his words might be in my head.
Lucy clears her throat loudly. “Clifford, this is Olivia, my little sister.”
The color drains from his face and he chokes on his cigarette. “Sister?” he sputters.
I snort. “Relax,” I tell him with a wink. “I’m adopted.”
A Disturbing Prospect releases January 29th. Sign up to be notified as soon as it’s available—click here!
Donny Jackson is the Enforcer and handles business for the River Reapers. Tall and muscular, Donny might seem dangerous at first glance, but he’s really a teddy bear. Here are five things you should know about Donny!
In my dream movie adaptation, Donny would be played by Morris Chestnut.
Donny is one of the few characters who doesn’t have any tattoos.
He doesn’t get close to many people, but he’s very protective of the ones he cares about.
Donny is 47 years old.
His idea of a perfect vacation is exploring the nooks and crannies of Europe.
Honestly, from the second I found out Mike and I are losing our health insurance, I’ve been upside down. Even though we’ve mostly got it figured out now, I still can’t right myself. Between the flare I’m in, stress, and self-doubt, I’m having a hard time caring about setting goals for the new year.
Which is precisely why I need to get my ass into gear and get something down on paper, so if nothing else, I’m still moving forward.
The best thing about goals is things change; nothing is ever set in stone, whether life happens or you simply change your mind. I need to remember that, rather than getting caught up in the mindset that I have to stick to my goals or die. Now, don’t get me wrong. You want to set goals and try to stick to them. But it’s not the end of the world if things don’t work out. I’m breathing proof of that. Pretty much nothing goes my way, yet I’m still living my lifetime goal: be an author.
Setting goals is more like drawing a map for yourself. You’re going to get where you need to be, but you need some kind of route to follow. If you happen to make pit stops or find shortcuts, it’s okay to change your plans.
In 2018, I want to…
Write four novels. I have a loose idea of what I’m writing. I’d like to write at least two more books starring Cliff and Olivia, depending on how A Disturbing Prospect sells. Most of my beta readers loved it and are begging me for more, so I think it’ll do well in the market.
I also have an idea percolating for another f/f romance. I don’t know whether it’s a standalone or maybe a series of novellas, but these characters have been bugging me for a year now. I also sort of mentioned them in the second chance divorce romance I’m almost done writing, so I think it has to happen.
Novellas would work really well for me, considering I’m in school full-time. We’ll see; first I want to finish up my WIP and release A Disturbing Prospect.
Finish my first year of my Bachelor’s degree.My first semester went really well, but I’m nervous for the spring semester. I’m taking more intimidating courses (including algebra, send help). I need to remember the big picture: I’m getting a marketing degree so that I can better write and sell my books, not so that I can get straight “A”s and sit on the Dean’s List every semester. I’m a perfectionist but need to remember that progress is what’s most important here. As a friend reminds me when I start to obsess, “C”s get degrees!
More than likely, I’ll pass that algebra class with a C, haha.
Find a better treatment plan for my UCTD. I’ve been on Plaquenil for over a year now and, though it’s been a game changer, it’s not a magic bullet. My rheumatologist wants to try some other medications; I can’t start until I have permanent insurance, though, because they require lots of lab tests and monitoring that would otherwise be expensive. Right now I’m back on Prednisone (which makes me hungry and packs on the pounds), brand-name Plaquenil twice a day (the generic was giving me diarrhea and heartburn like whoa), Advil liquid gels, and Tramadol (which makes me constipated). My pain level has been at a seven or eight; today it’s at a tolerable five, six.
My goal for 2017 was to get down to a four, and I did for a little while. A lot of people with UCTD/Lupus say that Plaquenil can stop working after a while or isn’t totally effective. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back to that four. At that level, I can function. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to fight that level of pain, so I have battery life for other things: writing, family, etc.
Now that I’ve seen what it’s like to live with less pain—now that I know I can have my life back—I want it more than anything else. Before, it was just a dream.
In previous years, I’ve set all kinds of goals, but I think these three are just what I need right now.
What are your goals for 2018? Tell me in the comments, and have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration!
A week and a half ago, I got a vague email from Amazon informing me that I’d violated policy and that I needed to stop, otherwise they’d suspend my account. I have no idea what I might’ve done, and neither the Seller Performance Team nor Kindle Direct Publishing have bothered to provide me with further information—even though I’ve sent multiple inquiries.
The only thing I’ve been doing differently lately is almost weekly takeovers and giveaways in Facebook groups. As far as I’m aware, Amazon policy still allows for authors to give away copies of our books, so I’m not sure how this would be a violation. It’s the only thing I can think of, though.
I know that many authors and reviewers have been receiving emails like this. Some have had reviews deleted and others have had their accounts suspended—usually with no notice or explanation. Amazon has been trying to combat scammers for quite some time, but many legitimate authors and reviewers have been caught in the crossfire.
Lately I’ve been using Kindle docs to send ebook files to my giveaway winners. This is the same delivery method I was planning to use to send advanced review copies (ARCs) of A Disturbing Prospect. Again, as far as I know, this is perfectly within Amazon’s TOS, but as many authors and reviewers are reporting, no one really knows why Amazon is targeting some folks.
Because of this situation, I’ve decided not to give away ARCs of A Disturbing Prospect. Doing so would result in multiple copies delivered via Kindle docs, and I’m concerned that—although it’s a completely normal and legitimate practice—it would flag Amazon and potentially cause my account to be suspended.
Writing is my livelihood, and even though Amazon is just one retailer, I very much want to maintain a positive relationship with them (and every other retailer I work with).
I know a lot of my readers were looking forward to the early copies, and I apologize for the inconvenience. A Disturbing Prospect will be available via all retailers on January 29th. If you’d like, you can purchase a copy and then review if you so choose. Join my email list to be notified as soon as it’s available!
A Disturbing Prospect is the darkest book I’ve ever written. Not only is there a body count, but the book also deals with some real-life nightmares that I’ve longed to fight back against. Some of these themes may trigger personal trauma.
I needed to tell the story in my heart and right some wrongs, but I’d also never want anyone to suffer because of my words. None of these themes are gratuitously presented in the book, and my vigilante bikers always prevail. Still, I want my readers to be safe, so here is a list of potential triggers.
Animals: There’s no pet death in A Disturbing Prospect, but an animal is harmed.
Biker Culture: Let’s be real—biker culture is misogynistic as fuck. I wanted to portray that realistically, while also incorporating some changes. There’s some biker slang and characters who treat women as property in this book.
Childhood Sexual Abuse: Some of the characters have a history of being sexually abused as children. None of their memories are described, but there is mention of it having happened.
Drugs: There is brief mention of selling and use of drugs.
Self-Injury: A character catches a glimpse of another character’s self-mutilated arms.
Sexual Assault: One of the recurring themes in this series is violence against women and children. (One of the other recurring themes, however, is justice for that violence.) There are some hints of past sexual assault throughout A Disturbing Prospect.
Stalking: A character mercilessly stalks and taunts another character throughout A Disturbing Prospect.
Violence: All of the good guys in this series are vigilantes—antiheroes who take justice into their own hands. There is blood, fighting, gun violence, and a villain body count.
If you feel that you won’t be safe reading A Disturbing Prospect, please don’t risk your health. As a sexual assault survivor and someone with PTSD, I wish every book came with a list of trigger warnings. No book is worth risking your safety.
Please also note that I don’t necessarily condone or endorse the themes contained in this book.
If you’ve read A Disturbing Prospect and feel that I may have missed something, please email me at email@example.com.
It’s WIP Wednesday, and since my Facebook fans asked so nicely yesterday, today I’m sharing a little snippet from A Disturbing Prospect. I’m elbow deep in edits and every scene makes me so excited for you to meet Cliff and Olivia. I have to confess, Olivia is my favorite character that I’ve written to date. I’m so pleased to introduce you to her!
I glance over at Lucy. She’s sitting at the desk, pen in hand, making a grocery list. We have a mini fridge and a microwave, so my expectations are pretty low. “Is that why you never want to get married?”
There’s no answer because the door opens and all six-plus feet of Cliff bursts into the room. His brown eyes are actually smiling, and someone must’ve taken pity on him because his wild beard has been tamed back into a goatee. He instantly earns back twenty hot points.
“I have good news.” His gaze flits from me to Lucy, then back to me.
One of my eyebrows lifts out of habit, but I’m so busy wondering why he’s telling me that I miss whatever good news he wants to share.
“That’s awesome!” Lucy flies across the room and flings herself into his arms.
He wraps her in a bear hug, an amused look on his face. “Isn’t it? You don’t need to go grocery shopping now.”
She relaxes into his embrace. “I know,” she says dreamily. “We can take the train back and eat at my place.”
Clearing my throat, I shake my head. “Uh-uh, we have a deal.”
Stepping back from Cliff, Lucy presses her lips together and gives me a little nod. “Yeah, you’re right. We need to celebrate!” She hugs him again. “I’m so glad you’re coming home,” she says into his chest.
A twinge of jealousy runs through me. I want to be hugging him, celebrating his good news. It’s totally stupid. I don’t know him, and I don’t plan on it. One night is enough for me, and then it’s occasional family gatherings. No hugs or lullabies. I’m going to reintegrate him into society by fucking his brains out, then it’s back to class for me.
“And I’m glad I don’t have to do laundry now.” I toss the bag to the side, then reach for my cigarettes.
“Not so fast,” Lucy says. “It’s still gotta get done. I’m not putting his dirty clothes into my suitcase with my clean clothes.”
Cliff glances back and forth between us. He holds up his hands. They’re huge and square, perfect for massaging naked breasts. Twenty more hot points, which puts him at 110. Off the fucking charts, even with the crusty socks. Fuck me. I think I’m actually going to swoon.
“You don’t have to do that.” He smiles at me—really, for real smiles—and nods toward the bag. “Toss that over. I’ve got it.”
Lucy snorts. Both of us turn toward her. “Dude, you don’t even know how to do laundry.”
He scowls at her. “What do you think I am, a fucking rock? I can figure it out.”
My sister’s lips press together, and I can practically see the laugh throwing itself at her closed mouth, trying to break through. “What if Livvie goes with you? She’s gotta do her own anyway. And mine.” She smiles sweetly at me.
“Tequila,” I remind her.
She nods. “Have fun.”
* * *
The laundromat is empty, thank goodness. It’s going to be embarrassing enough for the guy to have to be taught how to do laundry. I show him how to load the card at the kiosk, then take him over to the machines.
“You just throw everything in,” I explain, reaching for my laundry bag. But I don’t take my own advice. Reaching for everything slowly, I pause every time I get to a lacy little thong, making sure he sees it. “Then,” I bend over slowly, “you swipe your card, set your time . . .” I straighten and pour detergent and fabric softener into their respective compartments, the liquid a slow drizzle.
When I sneak a glance at him, he’s making zero effort to conceal the fact that he’s staring at me. Suddenly it really sinks in that we’re alone. There’s an employee somewhere, probably reading a magazine or watching evening television. Crazy porn-esque thoughts stampede through my head: Cliff shoving me against the machines, his teeth digging into my lower lip as he sucks on it, his knee between my legs.
A whimper escapes my lips.
The heat in his eyes is searing, flames edging toward my skin, threatening to consume me and reduce me to ashes. And I’m not even at all scared. I want it so bad, I’m shaking.
He takes a step toward me.
Swallowing hard, I move in. I’ve never been one to let anyone else make the first move. I reach for his shoulders, my lips already parting. I’m wetter than I’ve ever been in my life. This is going to be it, the sex that rockstars write songs about. The kind of sex I can look back on when I’m married with two-point-five kids and I’m covered in baby goo. It’ll be the lay to close my list.
I step forward. He closes the distance between us. Rising up on the balls of my feet, I take aim. He reaches behind me. My eyes flutter as I realize he’s going to lift me up onto one of the tables and take me right here.
A beep sounds.
I open my eyes. Cliff takes a step back and turns away. The washing machine begins to fill, water and soap sluicing around my clothes.
“Thanks for your help,” he says over his shoulder, already setting up his own machine.
Heart thundering in my chest, I make a beeline for the door, a cigarette already between my lips. Stupid, stupid, stupid, my heartbeat punctuates my thoughts.
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