Monthly Archives: January 2020


#TEASERTUESDAY More 2020 teasers!

I shared the prologue to a standalone I’m working on called “Their Secret” on Sunday. If you missed it, you can read it by clicking HERE.

I promised I’d share more and here it is. This is the first part of Chapter 1. I’ll have the second part for you, later this week!

Camilla

Eight Months Prior . . .

Rushing down the stairs I nearly tripped over Hiccup as he dashed up the stairs like his tail was on fire or something. Crazy cat—or smart cat. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think even Hiccup sensed the unease of my dad’s impending arrival from work. We never knew what version of my dad would be walking through the door on any given night. Angry and verbally abusive or drunk and batshit angry and verbally abusive.

I’d gotten so caught up with my homework I lost track of the time and I was surprised my mom hadn’t called for me to come help her with supper. Only halfway down the stairs I could already smell the heavenly aroma of my mom’s cooking.

“There you are.” She turned to me as she pulled a casserole dish out of the oven. “I was just getting ready to call you down.”

“Yeah, sorry.” I opened the cupboard to pull out the plates and glasses. “I was doing my homework and lost track of time.”

Just as I turned toward the table our eyes met and she lifted a brow. “Homework?”

I smirked setting the dinnerware down on the table. “Well, I did finish my homework before I started with my web design stuff.”

She turned back to the counter where she lifted the crock pot open as I continued to set the table. I started to tell her about the latest technique I’d learned when she interrupted me. “We’ll need four settings tonight.”

I turned to look at her, but she was busy with the casserole dish she took out of the oven. It was only then that I noticed it wasn’t a casserole. The dish had four large twice baked potatoes in it. She slid another pan with rolls into the oven and set the timer.

Stopped completely in my tracks, I glanced around and spotted the other serving bowls on the counter. One had what looked like her bourbon glazed carrots—something she only ever made on Thanksgiving—and the other held a big fresh salad. There was also a crumb cake on the counter. It wasn’t homemade because it was in a box, but dinners were never this formal and we never had dessert unless it was a holiday. “Who’s coming over?”

“A friend of your dads.”

I walked back to the cupboard to retrieve the extra setting for the table and leaned over to glance at what was in the crock pot. It was a roast. Mom rarely made roast—especially one this size—because it was expensive. The fanciest dinners we ever got around here was spaghetti or some kind of casserole with lots of pasta, rice or potatoes and minimal protein, which dad got most of. But it used to be we’d dine on pizza bread, frozen corn dogs or something similar and we’d do so on our own. I’d take mine to my room where I preferred to eat—away from my ever petulant dad.

It wasn’t until just recently that he started insisting we all ate at the dinner table. “Like a real family, damn it.” So, his suddenly inviting dinner guests shouldn’t have surprised me. But I was still curious.

  “A friend?”

Dad had never been the most approachable person in town. Though he always tried very hard to put up a front. Only friends he ever had over never got this kind of treatment. In fact, they rarely got invited in. Instead they hung out back with him drinking beer while throwing horseshoes or playing cards spewing out obscenities along with loud drunken cackles.

Those were the only people he’d ever let anywhere into his world. People he didn’t care about impressing because they were worse off than he was. Anyone else looking in from the outside thought we were a happy little family, with a respectable head of household, when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“He said it’s an old friend.” Mom glanced back at me, but quickly went back to what she was doing. “He used to work with him when he lived in California.”

Except for the few times I’d had to spend more than a few minutes at dad’s farm equipment repair shop, I’d rarely seen him be social and halfway pleasant while sober. But it’s his place of business and he had to be as pleasant as possible if he wanted his clients continued business.

“This should be interesting,” I mumbled as I set the extra setting down.

“What was that?” My mom turned to me, but I shook my head.

Just then we heard the car pull into the driveway and I started out the kitchen glancing curiously out the window. “I’ll go wash up.” I slowed for a moment to try and get a better look but couldn’t see anything from my angle.

Whatever. I shrugged continuing to the downstairs bathroom. Anyone who’s ever willingly wanted to hang out with my dad has never been anyone I want to be around. I’d enjoy the special dinner, then excuse myself as soon as it was possible. I was anxious to get back to what I was working on upstairs anyway.

As I turned off the sink water, I heard the most foreign sound in the world and I froze. My dad was laughing and talking in a gracious sober tone I hadn’t heard in years. I stared in the mirror for a moment and almost laughed. The unfamiliar voice wasn’t nearly as loud as my dad’s. I couldn’t even make out what he was saying but it sounded like polite responses to whatever my parents were saying to him.

I dried my hands off and headed back to the kitchen. There was a man sitting at the table facing the other way. My dad, who sat across him, was the first to spot me. “And this here is my baby girl, Camilla.”

The term of endearment caught me so off guard I didn’t even turn my attention to his friend because I was busy eyeing the man at the table who said it. Whoever you are, please tell me your replacing my real dad and he’s never coming back.

“Camilla, this is my good friend Dante.”

Finally, I turned to the man and the first thing I was struck with is how much younger he was than I’d expected. I was no good at guessing people’s ages, especially ones out of their teens but if I had to guess he looked to be in his early twenties.

I smiled politely. “Hello.”

Even as I nodded, I had to wonder why in the world this guy would want to hang out with an old guy like my dad. I could never remember my parents ages exactly, but I was pretty sure they were pushing forty.

“Nice to meet you, Camilla.” He stood reaching his hand out to mine.

I shook his hand making note of his slightly callused yet strangely soft hand. Saying the polite thing back, that it was nice to meet him too, I took the seat next to him at the table. But what I really wanted to say was I’m stunned to meet him. I expected someone around my dad’s age. Maybe not as obnoxious as the friends he’s had over in the past, given the spread my mom put out. But still, he was almost the opposite of what I’d imagined.    

Aside from being much younger than expected, he was clean shaven, well groomed, dressed nicely in clean jeans and short sleeved buttoned shirt and even smelled nice. Not like the blend of whiskey, BO and cigarettes the men Dad’s had over in the past. Clearly, Dante went the extra mile to not only shower and appear presentable, he was even wearing cologne.         

As much as my father was playing the part of a happy family man who came home to a dinner like this every night, I knew better than anyone that so was not the case. I honestly loathed when he got home drunk from work, which was often, I actually preferred it that way. It usually meant he wouldn’t be eating, which in turn meant I was free to take my food upstairs and eat in peace.

My mom had already set the serving platters on the table and I started to reach for it. “Not until I’ve said grace, Camilla.”

With my hand frozen in mid air, I stared at my dad in disbelief, and my jaw nearly dropped. He could not be serious. I brought my hand back slowly, turning to my mom who nodded holding her hands together in front of her. Grateful that she did, because otherwise I wouldn’t have even known what to do since we’ve never said grace before, I did the same.

Clearing his throat, my dad started, and I closed my eyes because this was as awkward as it was ridiculous. “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food.”

I opened one eye when he stopped and saw him reach for a roll. Just like that, his prayer was over, and I had to wonder if he didn’t just Google and memorize the three sentences on his way home from work.

Dante didn’t immediately reach for any of the food, even as my dad slopped food on his own plate like it might run out. “Help yourself,” my dad said when he noticed Dante not serving himself. “I’m probably biased but the little wifey here is a heck of a cook.”

Wifey? Heck?

I’d officially entered the Twilight Zone. My eyes met my dad’s as I tried to make out if someone really did take over his body. But then I saw it. His smiling eyes went from easy going and sweet to his usual hard demeanor. I could almost hear his silent warning. You keep your fucking mouth shut and just go along with this.

I had no clue what my dad was up to, but I knew him well enough. He was up to something. He started telling Dante about the shop. From the sound of the conversation this wasn’t the first time they’d talked about it. Dante asked about a tractor dad was working on; stuff even I didn’t know, nor did I care about.

I sat quietly eating not paying too much attention to what they were saying until my dad dropped the news on us. But he didn’t really tell us, so much as tell Dante like it was something we already knew about.

“So, the garage is all set up for you.” I glanced up, but dad was too busy stuffing his face he didn’t even look up from his plate. “There’s a bed out there and a chest of drawers for you. No bathroom but you’re welcome to use the one in here anytime you need to.”

When I glanced at Mom it was obvious this was news to her as well. She was staring at my dad who still hadn’t bothered looking her way and she appeared to have been caught mid chew. When she turned to me, she started to chew again as if this didn’t actually shock her as well.

This shouldn’t have surprise me. Not only had my dad’s drinking grown heavier over the years so had his lack of respect for either of us. Not that he’d ever actually respected a snot nosed kid like myself but at least he used to tell my mom in advance when he was having company—which in this case he did—just left out the part about him inviting his guest to move into the garage. I used to think he kept his foul-mouthed friends outside out of respect for my mom. But as I got older, I distinctly got the feeling they were discussing things out there he didn’t want my mom to hear.             

“I have some money put away.” Dante turned to my mom as if addressing her. “As soon as I’m able to find a place I can afford in town, I’ll be out of your hair.”

“No worries,” my dad said without giving my mom a chance to respond. “You can stay here as long as you need to. That’s what friends are for, right?”

The Cheshire grin on my father’s face turned from Dante, to me and then my mother. As if we’d all been in on this and he didn’t just drop this news on us completely out of nowhere. Now his having been out in the garage for days doing what my mom called spring cleaning made sense. The man was a slob. The only reason this house wasn’t a pig sty was because of my mom and me. I should’ve known something was up. But I was just glad he was spending his time out there and not inside bullying me and my mom, so I hadn’t cared.  

The conversation went back to the shop and fixing farm equipment and soon dinner was over. Dad took Dante out to see his knew place while mom and I cleaned up. The moment they were out of hearing range I turned to my mother. “What the heck was that about? Did he tell you he was gonna move his friend in?”

“Of course not,” she said quickly. “But he did say he’s wooing a new business partner. I guess this is his idea of wooing.” She shrugged as she loaded the dishwasher. “Dante seems nice enough. Could’ve been worse. At least it’s not one of his other friends.”

My mom moved about cleaning in a rush and I suspected she wanted to be done and in her bedroom by the time my dad returned. I helped her, and we were done quick enough. We headed to our bedrooms without anymore talk of our new houseguest or even the weirdness of my father’s demeanor around him.

Wooing a new business partner. It made even more sense now. I should’ve known money had everything to do with my father being such kiss ass. Just made me wonder how a man who’d be living in our garage could possibly help my dad financially.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Chapter 1 COMING SOON!!!


2020 Teasers continue! 1

Happy Sunday everyone! Just a little update for everyone and some more 2020 teasers! So Orlando is coming along slowly but surely. I’ve made some major New Years resolutions about my writing and intend to get back to you guys with a bang so expect a few stories from me very soon. But as I sit here on my very limited writing time I always get to thinking, I NEED to give them something so I start digging into my WIP’s and find something to dangle at you. 😉

This one is a stand alone I’ve been working on for quite some time. The taboo story line came to me one day when I was thinking about the stories I’ve written about characters with age differences. I got to thinking about say Noah and Abel who were much younger than their love interest but yet still full fledged adults. I thought what if they weren’t? What if they’d been much younger? As in not even legal? I decided it’d be much more believable that the youngin’ in the equation would be the female. Ya-know, as in we women would be the more mature one and better able to deal with such an age difference. Also, like Roni, it’d be less likely and less believable that woman THAT much older would give into and fall into this “situation.”

Here is the blurb of “Their Secret” and the prologue! Stay tuned for Chapter one which I’ll be sharing with y’all REAL soon!

It started off as an innocent alliance . . .

When Cami, my buddy’s sixteen-year-old daughter, came to me to vent, I thought I was doing the right thing. I’d listen to her teenage drama and pass along any information her parents should know about.

Only I couldn’t pass along what she confided in me about—her abusive father.

After assuring me she had a plan all set and would leave the moment she turned eighteen, I promised not to say or do anything that would land her in foster care. For almost a year, I was there to lend an ear as our innocent bond slowly grew stronger.

Until shit hit the fan.

Her parents had taken me into their home as a trusted friend in need. So, when they found out, they accused me of betraying their trust by luring their underage daughter into what they referred to as a secret and inappropriate relationship.

Months after being banished from their home and Cami’s life forever, I still couldn’t shake the guilt of leaving her in that abusive home. But I had too much to lose if I didn’t just walk away. Now that she’s reached out with a desperate plea for me to harbor her just until she’s eighteen, there’s no way I can refuse, despite the risk being so much bigger than when this all started . . .

PROLOGUE

The moment I walked in the house their accusing eyes nearly scorched me. I went numb because I already knew the reason. My parents stared at me in disbelief, my mother’s eyes red rimmed, and my father’s expression a cross between shocked and utterly disgusted.

The forbidden letters in his hand were never meant to be mailed. I’d only written them to appease the irrepressible feelings I knew I shouldn’t be having. The emotion had slowly begun consuming my every thought. The first time I’d unleased them on paper was only because I wasn’t supposed to be on my laptop that late. And it was always late at night when the emotions were most overwhelming. It felt so good to unload everything I held inside for so long. I wrote more and more each night. Other than everything I felt for him, writing those letters had become my other obsession.

Aside from all that I unleashed in those letters, there was something so comforting about doing so in that archaic way I’d read so much about. Seeing everything that was in me coming to life in rich dark ink across the bright white crisp sheets of paper was so incredibly therapeutic. Once on those sheets the suffocating thoughts were no longer inside of me but out there for real, not just hidden in some hard drive or cloud on the web. My feelings and thoughts became a reality and actually tangible on paper.      

Despite the delight of finally having my reflections out there, those letters were meant for only me. While it felt like a release, they were still my uttermost private thoughts. My parents almost never went into my room. It’s why I’d been certain those letters were safe, tucked away in between the pages of some of the books on my bookshelf.

“Give me your phone,” my father demanded.

“Dad—”

“Give me your fucking phone!” he roared, charging toward me.

“Camilla, just—”

The slap across my face, that interrupted my mother was so fierce it threw me, and I fell against the wall. My mom was instantly in tears but as expected did nothing to come to my aid.

“No seventeen-year-old daughter of mine should even be thinking the things you wrote to whoever this is.”

He bent over and picked up my phone that spilled out of my bag as I held the side of my face that was now blazing for more than one reason. My heart raced because I’d addressed all the letters Dear You to play it safe even though I honestly thought no one would ever read them. My erotic fantasies about him got even more explicit with each letter I wrote. I could barely look at either of my parents in the face now and on top of it all they were this close to finding out who Dear You was.   

“What’s your password?” he demanded, and I obliged immediately.

He tapped my password in furiously onto the screen. Then tapped the screen a few more times. His jaw dropped, and I knew then he saw the endless thread of texts between Danteand me. He’s who I texted more than anyone. In fact, there are very few people beside him that I texted at all. He’d been my obsession for months now—the only thing I thought about day and night and he didn’t even know it. As bad as this was, I knew it was about to get so much worse.

“Are those letters for . . .” My father’s eyes went darker even as they widened, and I could see the instant betrayal in them as it started to become clear.

This wasn’t just a boy from school or around the neighborhood like I’m sure they’d thought when my mother found the letters. This was a parent’s worst nightmare. Only it wasn’t!        

“Yes,” I said frantically. “But he didn’t know anything about those letters. I swear to you! That was my secret. It’s why I’ve never mailed them. He has no idea it’s how I feel about him.”

This is how you feel about him?” My incensed dad shook the letters in his hand. “He’s old enough to be your father.”

If he’d had me at fourteen.

I refrained from pointing that out. I knew it wouldn’t matter to him. Instead, I went back to pleading, horrified that he might tell Dante—my dad’s long-time trusted friend and employee—what I wrote in those letters.

“Daddy, please! I swear to you—”

“What’s this?” He swiped the screen, his eyes growing even more scandalized, and I knew he’d found all the photos. Selfies of me and Dante that would be otherwise innocent and just fun if it weren’t for those filthy letters. His murderous eyes bore into me. “Has he ever touched you?”

“Never!” I practically screamed. “He’s never said anything inappropriate to me. Read all the texts if you want. There’s nothing improper in any of them!”

It was the truth. While an infinite trail of digital conversations passed between us because I’d been confiding and exchanging secret texts with him for nearly a year, nothing incriminating was in any of them. Not even one.

It was at my request that we kept them clandestine. I was afraid my parents would say our friendship was inappropriate and end it. I needed the escape only being able to talk to Dante brought me, and he understood why. So he grudgingly agreed.

When my dad called the sheriff, I refused to cooperate. Dante is innocent. Instantly, I was labeled a spoiled, rebellious teen who was too young and naïve to know anything about love.

Oh, but I did.

They called him a pedophile, a predator who knew exactly what to say to an impressionable girl my age. A trusted family friend who’d betrayed his friend by brainwashing me into turning against my parents. What did any of them know?

They had no idea where I’d been that very day. Dante was leaving town soon, and I begged him to take me with him.

He adamantly refused.

I’d already planned and anticipated everything about my escape with Dante. My mother finding my secret letters ruined everything. I’d been certain I could still convince him to take me.

The confrontation between my father and his now ex-buddy was explosive. In an effort to right things with my father, Dante came clean about everything. Not just about the texts. He admitted to allowing me to hang out at his place often. Just the two of us. That too was completely innocent—had it not been for those letters that were completely unbeknownst to Dante when he confessed it all—but it’s what ultimately broke my father. His thirty-one-year-old friend, whom he’d trusted with his life, had been carrying on a secret relationship with his seventeen-year-old daughter.

Because of those letters, nothing either one of us said made a difference. Dante was banished from our home—our lives. If my parents had it their way, all communication between Dante and me would’ve ceased after that night forever.

The next day I ran away and the police arrested Dante.

I felt terrible, but knew they had nothing on him. I kept up with the local scandal on the internet. As expected, the very next day he was released. He was never formally charged with anything, but he was still considered a person of interest in my having gone missing. So even though I was now officially a runaway and no one knew where I was, I was forced to stay away from him. Have zero contact with him for weeks.

It was utter torment—until I walked into that cell phone store a state away from my parents’ home, just to get out of the rain. I flipped through the phones on display, pretending to browse, when I realized they were live. I dialed a random number, and it rang until a doctor’s answering service answered and I hung up.

Unlike how I’d planned my escape from my parents so meticulously for years prior to actually finally doing it, this was impulsive. Reckless. But I’d been dying to have even the tiniest of communication with him. I didn’t think it through. I just tapped his number in and the three words that were constantly in my head, I miss you. Then sent it, never once imagining how much it would cost me.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE TEASERS!!! I HAVE SO MUCH MORE FOR YOU!


First TGIF of 2020!! More teasers . . .

 

In case you missed it, we had a teaser of Byron’s story yesterday in THIS POST. Get the rest of that teaser now and MORE TO COME!!!

He knew it. He fucking knew it. Only solace Byron would take from this now was that at least he knew he hadn’t unfairly judged her. He wasn’t being an insecure little bitch like he’d begun to think. That at a moment like the one they’d been having she’d be thinking of not just Richard. Not just her fucking ex, but Richie spoke volumes.

“Richie?” Just saying it turned his already nauseated stomach. “Is that what you usually call him? Or is that only when he’s touching you the way I—”

“No!” She shook her head trying to reach out for him, but he backed up not wanting any part of her touching him now.

Worst thing is while she still hadn’t said much, the look in her eyes said it all. This hadn’t been just a slip. She’d likely been thinking of that fucker the whole time. “I just misspoke, Byron.”

“Yeah?”

As pissed at this made him, Byron wasn’t sure what made him madder. The fact that she looked guilty as fuck or that his dumb ass was feeling something else than the only thing he should be feeling—incensed.

He wanted the rage to drown out the infuriating ache in his heart. It had no business being there. She had no business being there and he’d known it all along.

“Misspoke?” He glared at her trying not to show the hurt. “Just when I was—”

“I’m sorry.” She brought her hand to her mouth as her brows pinched and there it was.

“Don’t apologize.”

“It’s just that—”

“Don’t be sorry, _____.” He realized he was getting loud, but he couldn’t help it. “Don’t be sorry that your ex is on your mind even when—”

“It’s not that.” She shook her head. “I just spoke with him today and he’s not my ex.”

Bullshit!” Sucking in a sharp breath Byron willed himself to calm down. “Not that it matters but don’t fucking lie to me now. It is what it is. You hung out with him, like your hanging with me, right?”

“Your so much more.”

“But you’re thinking of him while . . .” He couldn’t even say it? What the fuck was wrong with him? “While I’m rubbing myself on—”

“Byron!” She was uncharacteristically loud as she brought her hand to her mouth and spun around so he couldn’t see her face.

“Byron what?” he asked confused.

She was going to cry now? Now that she’d gotten his name right? She turned around to face him, and her eyes did look slightly glistened. But he wouldn’t fall for it. He wouldn’t give in like a chump and back off. He wasn’t being too hard on her even though seeing her nearly in tears did shit to him he should not be feeling. Especially after this.

“I just misspoke,” she explained again even as her hand remained over her mouth. “I was thinking of him earlier. Something I was going to mention to you about him earlier but then the conversation veered off and I guess his name just stayed in my head.”

Horseshit. “You were gonna tell me something about Richie?” 

“Well no . . . I mean . . .” She fumbled with her words then went on. “I- I just sometimes call him that. But it doesn’t—”

Byron’s phone rang on the counter interrupting her stuttering lies but he hit the button to send the call to voicemail. “Just get out.” He couldn’t take hearing her lies anymore but mostly unable to stand the pain of looking into those beautiful eyes knowing she’d so easily played him. “Get the hell out, and don’t ever call me again.”

“Byron no. Please, hear me out. I can explain.”

“Explain what, _________? That you’re thinking of your ex while you’re spending time with me?”

“No!”

She reached out and tried to touch him again, but he flinched his hand back. “Get the fuck off me.” He motioned to her phone. “Call Richie. Tell him you’re free to go now or maybe you’ve been free all this time, you just couldn’t hang with him tonight because you’d already made plans.” 

“No, I haven’t done anything with him since . . .” She paused with an odd expression on her face then shook her head. “A week ago?”

“You were with him a week ago?” His strained words were a near whisper as the brutal reality sunk in.  

“I mean! It was only once.”

The blinding rage nearly blurred his vision and he welcomed it. Anything was better than the instant boulder that’d lodged in his throat after she delivered the infuriating yet painful truth. “Get out!”

“It was a quickie.”

“Get the fuck out!”

 

Once again I PROMISE YOU, you WILL NOT hate her! In fact you’ll LOVE her.

 

 

SO!! Are you excited? This is just the second of my WIP’s. I have MORE! I’ll get you a few more snippet/teasers of those before you get a full book to devour! I love you all for being so patient with me and hanging in there. I PROMISE it’ll be worth the wait! I’ll be back with more in a few! HAPPY new year! And I’ll announce the winners of both yesterdays and today’s giveaways before the end of the weekend!