FLY WITH ME
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Tiffany wasn’t sure how long she sat there before she was finally able to get up and reach the phone in the kitchen. Dialling a familiar number, it didn’t take long for someone to answer.
Tiffany hesitated for a second then quickly hung up. Checking the numbers by pushing the redial button, she pressed connect when she was sure. With her heartbeat up a notch, she focussed this time.
“Hello?” the person answered, this time with more irritation in his voice.
Confused, she asked, “Can I talk to Dylan, please?”
“He’s not home.”
“Who… who are you?”
“My name is Mat. Can I leave him a message?”
Puzzled for a split second, she racked her brain to put one and one together. This guy definitely had a little Kiwi accent in his voice. But who the hell was he?
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I don’t quite know how to describe the concert. I can say it was as stimulating visually as it was to my ears. The band—four guys and a girl—all had hair longer than mine, which was well past my shoulders. All except for the keyboardist, whose head was shaved, although he sported a long, red beard parted into two straggly plaits. I wondered how he kept them from tangling with the keys. The girl who sang vocals had inky hair hanging in strings to her shoulders, and she wore a black leather bustier that laced up the front. Well, almost laced. In truth, the garment left little to the imagination.
But then there was the drummer. If not for the overhead monitors panning in for close-ups during the performance, I might never have known he existed. What a travesty that would have been.
In a word, he was . . . magnificent. He sat like a king on his throne at the elevated rear of the stage, sparkling silver-flake drums surrounding him like loyal minions. The monitor directly over our seats focused on him often, so close and so clear I could see the sweat glistening on sculpted upper arms, bare beneath a black muscle shirt stretched taut across a broad chest. Some sort of ink crawled over one bicep. A black-and-white paisley bandanna covered most of his head, but long, dark curls framed his face and clung damp against his neck. His facial hair, limited to a sparse mustache and goatee, was chocolate brown. I indulged in the fantasy that his eyes were that same sweet, smoldering color.
His passion for his work was palpable. Hands flying, head bobbing, he was completely engrossed, as if the music were a drug he was tripping on. His hooded eyes gave him the look of a sleepy lover, but when he did open them, I could swear he was gazing directly at me.
Looking back on that night, I can’t be sure how long we’d sat there before I fixated on my drummer boy. The music, which at first grated on my senses as way too loud and completely discordant, gradually began to permeate my brain. Before long, my bare toes started tapping against the carpeted floor. I freed one hand from my cup of wine to pat my thigh in time with the music. When my head began to bob, almost of its own accord, I smiled.
Ah, now I know why they call progressive metal fans head bangers.
The next hour and a half went by so quickly I might have slipped into a time warp. At one point I wondered if my cup of nine-dollar wine was laced with something mind-altering and illegal. I began to dig the music. I was actually enjoying the concert.
But before I’d seen nearly enough of my chocolate king behind the drums, the stage went black and the lighting came up. The band did not return for an encore. My first heavy progressive experience had come to an end.
I blinked in the sudden brightness, dazed for a moment, like I’d woken from a dream. Jeri was struggling with the strap of her shoe, her other hand braced against her forehead as though she had a massive headache. Grommet guy, too impatient to wait for the two elders beside him to vacate the aisle, vaulted easily over the backs of the seats into the row in front of us and disappeared into the crowd.
I’d almost forgotten my own young progeny—a son and a nephew—were in the same building.
We reunited on the sidewalk fifteen minutes later. The rain had ceased, leaving the city gleaming under the streetlights, clean and brand new.
Somehow, I felt that way too. Clean and brand new.
We were climbing into my brother’s SUV, Paul at the wheel with Jeri and Jay next to him in the front. I sat squashed between my husband and son in the back. Jeri’s head immediately dropped to Paul’s shoulder. I knew she’d be asleep before we got onto the West Side Highway.
I so wanted to do the same, and cuddle against my husband. But he’d said barely a meaningful word to me all evening. I sighed, dropped my head back against the seat, and closed my eyes.
“So, what did you guys do for all that time?” Ryan asked.
“We saw Dreamwish,” Paul piped up from the front, sounding as though his statement actually made sense.
“You saw our concert? You guys?” Jay sputtered through his laughter.
I opened my eyes to find my son staring at me in much the same way Jeri had been earlier.
“How’d you like it, Mom?” Ryan asked in a slight singsong of ridicule, which I chose to ignore.
I caught my brother watching me in the rearview mirror. He was wearing an impish grin. “For a while there,” he said, “we were afraid your mother might run off with one of the roadies.”
The next words popped out of my mouth before my brain had a chance to stop them.
“To hell with the roadies. If I run off, it will definitely be with the yummy drummer.”
Shocked silence extinguished all laughter, and I peeked up to see four pairs of owlish eyes fixed on me.
“Go to sleep,” Karl snarled under his breath. “You’ve had too much to drink.”
Claire writes emotional romance. Her heroes are hot, her heroines strong and brave: a combination lighting the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire’s characters are human—they make mistakes, get clumsy sometimes, and they’re not too proud to laugh at themselves and each other.
She writes in contemporary and paranormal romance, as well as women’s fiction. Claire’s books are like a thrill ride at a theme park. Whether it’s spooky-scary, angst-ridden relationships filled with gut-wrenching turmoil, silly chuckle moments, or face-fanning sex, Claire guarantees to take you on an emotionally intense romantic journey.
The Phoenix Syndrome
A Taming Season: A Love at Lake George Novel
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2a2CSda
Hearts Unloched (Winner 2016 New York Book Festival)
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2ag8oHG
Six years ago, Dr. Marla Grant gave into temptation with a gorgeous man. Now the medical director of Lafayette Falls Community Clinic and a single mom to a little girl, Marla finds herself in a dilemma when the funding for the community clinic is threatened by none other than the powerful man of her long-ago fling and unsuspecting father of her child…
Carson Blackwell has never forgotten bright, beautiful Marla. When he discovers that she works at the clinic his grandmother’s foundation sponsors, it’s the perfect opportunity to end to his ongoing infatuation and use his leverage to cement a new business deal. He needs a fake girlfriend for one week in Hawaii, and Marla is just the woman for the job. It’s a win-win situation, until they realize the attraction between them isn’t feigned, and the heat has never died down. Only the secrets they’re both keeping stand in the way of a future together and a love that could last a lifetime.
King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Science Fiction/Fantasy Time-Travel Romance
LENTH (Pages/# Words) – (350 pages/70K words)
PUBLISHER – Lucky Bat Books
COVER ARTIST – Jennifer Doneske
ILLUSTRATORS – Jennifer “The Royal Portraitist” Doneske and Tom “The Creature King” Doneske
BOOK BLURB / SYNOPSIS –
“Solidly entertaining.” –Publishers Weekly
Winner, 2016 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal for Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Winner, Summer 2016 NABE Best Fantasy Book.
Morgan le Fay, sixth-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.
Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.
Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball… and the human heart.
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ALL CALL ME Queen. For my unparalleled skills in leechcraft, most call me “The Wise.” No man dares call me “le Fay,” lest he die.
I hight Morgan.
That is to say, my name is Morgan, so chosen by my mother, Duchess Igraine, to honor the Great Queen of the Old Religion, Mór Rigan, goddess of war. My mother never knew how prophetic her choice would prove to be.
I am the daughter of Duke Gorlois, the sister of Queen Margawse and Queen Elaine, the wife of King Uriens of Gore, and the mother of Sir Uwaine of the Table Round. Blessed good fortune made me all of these things.
By the capricious hand of ill fortune, King Arthur became my younger half brother, spawned upon my most virtuous and blameless mother by that demon in man’s raiment, Uther Pendragon.
I despised Arthur from the very hour of his birth.
Kim Headlee’s Romantic Idea:
I love to travel but I also love to find great deals on lodging and transportation so that I can use the rest of my vacation budget to splurge on activities. My husband and I began a tradition a few years ago to make a beach getaway in November, which is the off season for many Northern Hemisphere beach destinations. We love sharing dawn and sunset beach walks, usually with a meal afterward because we’ve worked up an appetite. We’ve enjoyed Cancun and several other Caribbean destinations, though our current favorite fall beach retreat is Myrtle Beach, SC. That region’s restaurants can be pricey, even in the off season, so getting an outstanding deal on hotel reservations is a must! Wherever we travel, we’ve found there’s nothing more romantic than the sound of the surf wafting through the balcony window on a mild fall evening.
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the midtwentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying Arthurian legends and literature for nigh on half a century.
2015 YouTube video interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk
WEB SITE – kimheadlee.com
BLOG – http://kimiversonheadlee.blogspot.com/
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/KimHeadlee
GOOGLE+ – https://plus.google.com/+KimHeadlee
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/KimIversonHeadlee
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LINKEDIN – http://www.linkedin.com/in/kimheadlee/
YOUTUBE CHANNEL – http://www.youtube.com/user/gyanhumara
Waltzing with the Earl
Believing he is cursed, Tristram, Lord Trevena, the Earl of Longstone, agrees to do just one favor for a friend, to dance with the man’s sister, but the beautiful and headstrong Isabel Albryght will settle for no less than claiming his lonely heart.
A PROPHECY FORETOLD
Raised by her doting older brother, Isabel Albryght grew up cosseted and protected. She enjoyed her life in the country, her books, and her freedom. Then her brother married. Within months Isabel’s best friend married. It seemed it was time for Isabel to marry, too. Socially awkward and a bit too keen for most of the ton, Isabel proceeded to have the most horrible season on record…until she was approached by Tristram, the Earl of Longstone.
Two dances. That was all Tristram could offer anyone when considering his family curse, which had taken all he loved in the last ten years, so his promise to the beautiful Miss Albryght’s brother was simply that. The ton would soon see she was a desirable partner, her awkwardness would fade and other young swains would beat feet to her doorstep. But then he held her in his arms, and the delightful Isabel became his beating heart. Headstrong and full of passion, she believed she might waltz them away from Death. She alone could tempt him to try.
Multi-published historical romance author Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age, she took an interest in history and travel, and is thrilled to incorporate those diversions into her writing. Alanna writes Regency and Western historical romance.
When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.
Just for the record, you can never have too many shoes, handbags, or books. And travel is a must.
Find Alanna online at www.alannalucas.com
Connect with Alanna Facebook/Twitter @alannalucas27
Waltzing with the Earl links:
The temperature in the room rose by several degrees—it was positively sweltering. Isabel did not know how much longer she could tolerate standing in the midst of hell, surrounded by a mixture of unidentifiable odors and loud boisterous laughter. She thought her head would explode.
Closing her tired eyes, she brought her gloved hand to her temple. Isabel could feel her body sway, but was unable to stop the motion. She could not even gather her wits about her to stamp down, or even beg, the feelings to cooperate. Isabel could sense another mishap was forthcoming, which further added to her distress. And she had been doing so well.
A gentle hand came to her elbow. “Allow me to accompany you onto the balcony for some fresh air, Miss Albryght.” Lord Trevena’s voice broke through the haze. His tone was soft and full of concern.
Isabel opened her eyes; they felt thick and heavy, and still out of focus. Tristram somehow managed to maneuver her through the crush without bumping into anyone. The moment they reached the unoccupied balcony, the cool evening breeze cleared the haziness Isabel had been fighting in her head.
They strolled to the edge of the balcony, partly hidden within the shadows, and clear of any curious gossipmongers. The garden beyond was concealed in darkness, but the lingering scent of blooming roses wafted through the air. Tristram released his gentle hold on her arm. The absence of his hand made her heart lurch, wanting more.
Isabel turned to face him. Even in the dim light, his clear blue eyes sparkled like stars in the night. She struggled to find the words, but when they finally came, they would not stop.
“Thank you for coming to my aid. I am quite recovered now. The room was quite warm and the noise…”
“Isabel,” Tristram said in a deep husky tone. Her name on his lips sent a jolt of excitement through her body.
Taking a step closer, he brought his hand to her face, his gloved thumb dancing intimately across her cheek. Her heart pounded against her ribs, practically stealing her breath.
“Lord Trevena.” His name exited her lips in a breathy gasp.
He bent his head and whispered his name across her cheek. “Tristram.”
Isabel could not imagine anything more sensual than this moment. She lifted her chin, and their cheeks brushed. His lips were so close, but still too far away. His warm breath teased her senses. Closing her eyes, she waited for his kiss.
A Taste of Tragedy
by Kim McMahill
Morgan Hunter sacrificed everything for her career. She had yet to encounter anything she wasn’t willing to do to succeed . . . until now. When she uncovers evidence that the healthy foods she’s been hired to promote may be dangerous, she must reevaluate her priorities. As questions mount and the body count rises, she finds herself caught in the crosshairs of an organization that will stop at nothing to hide its secrets and protect its profits. With no one else to trust, Morgan is forced to seek help from the man she drove away, but whom she never stopped loving.
“Here, let me help you,” Morgan said as she draped Devyn’s arm around her shoulders.
Morgan tried to relieve as much weight as she could from Devyn as she helped her hobble to the waiting vehicle. Once Devyn was seated in the cramped back seat, Morgan dug out her emergency supply bag. She handed Devyn a blanket and a bottle of water. “I have a first aid kit, but I think you need something a little more than a bandage.”
“It’s just a few scratches. I’ll live.”
Morgan could see why Nick trusted Devyn with his back. As she looked at the battered and bruised woman, who had taken off into the desert in the middle of the night in bare feet to prevent a criminal from getting away, she had to admire her. Devyn had to be in extreme pain, yet not a complaint escaped her lips.
“Make room in the back,” Nick huffed.
Morgan looked up to see Nick trudging toward her with an inert Aaron slung over his shoulder. She raced to the tiny back cargo area and moved a few items around so Nick could squeeze the body in the vehicle.
“Is he dead?” Morgan whispered.
“Not quite, but we need to get him medical help A.S.A.P. The bullet didn’t hit any vital organs, but I’m not sure how much damage he suffered from the knock to the head”
Morgan watched as Nick set the man down in the vehicle, and then she joined Devyn in the back seat. Turning around and kneeling, she was able to lean over the seat and assess Aaron’s injuries. She folded up a handkerchief and placed it over Aaron’s gunshot wound and applied pressure. She wasn’t sure which was bleeding more, the bullet hole or the bump and cut to the head, but she had to try and slow the blood loss any way she could.
“That’s all we can do for now,” Nick said. “Just keep the pressure on the best you can.”
Morgan nodded as Nick secured the back and then got behind the wheel.
“You okay?” Nick asked as he turned to face Devyn.
“I’ve had better days, but sadly, I’ve had worse.”
Kim McMahill grew up in Wyoming, which is where she developed her sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. Kim started out writing non-fiction, but her passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew her into a world of romantic suspense. Along with writing adventure novels Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel anthology and cookbook. Kim currently resides in Colorado, and when not writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family.