Thursday, September 18, 2014

Novella collections?

I’m over at ChristiansRead asking questions about novella collections. Do you like reading them or do you prefer full length novels? What’s the last novella collection you bought? What’s the last novella collection you read?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guest post and giveaway by Sally Bradley

Hey peeps, I’m thrilled to host Sally Bradley today! I first heard about her book, Kept, years ago when she first was writing it and thought the story premise was absolutely fascinating. It’s wonderful to see this book finally in print (and what a gorgeous cover, too!).

Here’s the back cover blurb for her book:

"Gutsy and fast-paced."—Laura Frantz, author of Love's Reckoning

"One of the most surprising and best books I’ve read this year."—MaryLu Tyndall, best-selling author of Legacy of the King's Pirates series

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago's lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father's sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can't help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she's longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.
When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes that her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who's gone too far and done too much.

"Vibrant characters, compelling questions, modern-day issues... Kept is a contemporary Christian classic along the lines of Redeeming Love. Impossible to put down, this story pulls us into the heart of Chicago and shows us how God’s hand can work, even when we repeatedly make the wrong choices. Sally Bradley’s voice is gripping and clear, and her debut is a shining beacon of how very relevant Christian fiction can be."—Heather Day Gilbert, author of God's Daughter and Miranda Warning.

Here’s a bit about Sally:

Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope. A Chicagoan since age five, she now lives in the Kansas City area with her family. You can find her online at sallybradley.com and Sally Bradley, Writer on Facebook. Kept is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

And now, here’s Sally!

First, big thanks to Camy for letting me hijack her blog!

Camy’s got a lot of romance going on here, so I thought I’d follow suit. My debut novel, Kept, has just released. In fact today’s the official release day! (Woo-whoo! Ahem.) Kept is big-city fiction set in gorgeous downtown Chicago—right on the lakefront beside Grant and Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain and the Art Institute... don’t you just want to go?

I sure do.

Miska Tomlinson, my heroine, is an exotic beauty who’s fallen for the line so many young women in America are falling for—that sex is meaningless, that love doesn’t last, that relationships are only for a time. They’ve been thrown away so many times—and have thrown men away too.

Eventually all that hurt catches up to a girl.

That’s where the book begins for Miska—just as a guy like none she’s ever met moves in next door. There are lots of ups and downs throughout their journey, lots of pain and drama, but lots of fun and flirtation too. So I thought I’d share the flirting part here. This section always makes me smile.

[Important details to catch you up—Dillan is, as Miska first labeled him, freakishly tall. He’s six nine. No, that’s not random. There’s a reason he’s so tall. And they’re playing Frisbee soccer with a bunch of other singles. Enjoy!]

They jogged farther down the field. Dillan’s team kept the Frisbee near her goal, and she and Dillan stopped to catch their breath. Behind the trees on the far side of the park, the sky turned pink and lavender. She squinted at the occasional ray of light that jumped between swaying leaves and tried to blind her.

Somewhere someone was grilling. “Smell that?”

Dillan sniffed the air.

“What is that? Ribs? Steak?”

He pointed behind them. “It’s coming from over there.”

She looked but couldn’t find the source. When she turned back, Dillan was yards ahead of her, sprinting for the Frisbee heading their way.

“Dillan!” She chased him.

The Frisbee stayed up, and Dillan leaped high into the air, nabbing the edge and pulling it into his palm. He landed hard on his feet, almost falling to his knees as she skidded to a stop. He flung his arm out for balance.

Two of his teammates stood alone by her team’s goal. Once he stood—

Miska leaped onto his back.

He laughed beneath her. “Uh, foul.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck, her legs around his waist. “Drop the Frisbee and no one gets hurt.”

People began to laugh and cheer. Someone wolf-whistled.

“Miska.” Dillan coughed. Laughed. “Get off.” He twisted, his left arm coming back to his chest to fling the Frisbee.

Miska lunged over his shoulder for it.

He laughed again, straightening. “Are you serious?”

She slipped. With a yelp, she tightened her hold around his neck, one hand grabbing a fistful of shirt.

He stumbled back a step.

Safely on his back again, she made another grab for the Frisbee.

“Please.” Amusement tinged his voice. He held the Frisbee out, way beyond her reach.

“No fair. Your arms are like six feet long.”

“And you climbing on my back is fair.” He brought the Frisbee in close, let her reach for it, and held it out again. Pulled it close, let her reach for it, held it out again. And again.

Across the field laughter grew. Jordan flopped onto the grass, an arm across her stomach, while Garrett watched with his hands on his hips. “Let me have it, Dillan. You’re making a scene.”

“So?”

“So I can live with this. Can you?”

“Watch me,” he said and started to run.

She jerked backwards. Her mouth flew open, and she grabbed his shoulders. “Dillan!”

His long legs ate up the distance. Miska hung on, each fist clenching the front of his shirt, each step jouncing her up and down. She pressed her cheek against the side of his head, his hair cushioning her jaw. They passed everyone until only one man stood between them and the goal.

Dillan leaned over the shorter guy’s head and tossed the Frisbee in.

His team erupted.

Miska slid off his back and landed in a heap on the ground. Dillan high-fived Cam, then turned to her, a grin across his face. He offered her a hand up.

She swatted it away. “You cheated.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. What was I thinking?”

On her feet, she flipped her hair over her shoulder. “You weren’t, I’m sure. There’s not enough oxygen up there. How are you even alive?”

Laughing, Cam shook his head and jogged downfield.

Dillan pointed toward his ear, his chest heaving beneath his crumpled Cubs T-shirt. “You’ve got grass in your hair.”

She ran her fingers over her curls. “Did I get it?”

“No, it’s still—” He brought his hand closer. “You’re right below it.”

She shook her head, moved her hand up. “Here?”

“Let me.”

Her hair gave beneath his fingers, a curl separating his skin from hers. And then his fingers were in front of her, a blade of grass—brown and jagged at one end—in his hand. He tossed it to the ground. “There.”

“Any more?”

“Don’t think so.” He checked both sides of her head. “You’re good.” He took a step toward the center of the field, and Miska fell in beside him, seeing the Frisbee take off at the other end.

Cam said something to a guy who glanced over his shoulder at her and Dillan.

“Why does everyone keep looking at us?”

“What do you mean?”

“While we were eating and just now. Every time I look up, guys are watching us.”

He shrugged. “Got me.” He eased into a jog and began to leave her behind.

“What are you doing?”

“Playing defense.” He smirked over his shoulder. “I’ll explain it to you some time.”

Camy here: Great excerpt! Thanks Sally!

Sally’s also giving away one ebook copy of her book, Kept!

To enter the contest:

You must join Sally’s email newsletter to be eligible for this contest (go to Sally’s website and look for the form on the right side to sign up for her newsletter). Fill out the form below. Be sure to read the rules.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SUSHI FOR ONE: deleted scene chapter 24

I found another deleted scene from Sushi for One tucked away in the depths of my computer. This one was a short scene originally inserted at the beginning of Chapter 24, but it got axed since I was over word limit, and my editor pointed out it didn’t do much for the storyline.

For those of you who haven’t read Sushi for One, don’t worry, this won’t ruin the book for you. For those of you who have read it, you’ll hopefully get a chuckle over some of the snarkiness that got cut from the original book.

I’m also giving away the last of my author copies of Sushi for One over at Goodreads! Click here to enter (you must belong to Goodreads to enter). Ends September 20th.

They got her into the apartment, and Venus went to collect the Igloo ice machine and the CPM machine. She set the CPM on the bed.

“The bed’s too short.”

“What do you mean?”

“When you lie down, I have to move the machine here to fit under your leg.”

“Yeah?”

“Well, the edge of the machine is hanging over the end of the bed.”

Lex peered down. “That’s just great.”

“I’ll have to move it onto the bed.”

“But I’ll bang my head against the wall.”

“Would you rather have the machine drop to the floor? With your leg attached?”

“Good point.”

Venus started lugging boxes to the foot of Lex’s bed. “Alan said the CPM machine needs a footboard or something to hit against, because the passive motion will move it backwards.” She had to squeeze past the box once it was in place.

“How am I going to get to the bathroom?”

Venus shrugged.

“I hope I don’t have to go badly. It’ll take so long to get past the boxes—”

“Your fault for getting such a cramped studio.” Venus glared at her.

Lex glared back. “Helloooo? I’m in pain, here?”

“I’ll set up your ice machine.” Venus peered into the Igloo. “Needs more ice.”

She headed to Lex’s freezer. “No way.”

“What?”

“You don’t have an ice maker?”

“Oh. Uh . . . no.”

Venus looked around, saw Lex’s ice chest. “I’ll go get ice from Safeway. We’ll store it in that.” She picked up her purse and left.

Lex stared at the stains on the ceiling. This day was getting worse and worse.

Venus’s rattling of the door knob woke her from her doze.

“Got the ice.”

“Thanks.”

Venus stopped. “Are you actually being polite today? What a shocker.”

Lex frowned.

Venus chortled and dumped the ice into the ice machine. She hooked Lex up, and a spurt of cold crept over the surface of her knee. It numbed the throbbing pain.

“Where’s your extension cord?”

“What extension cord?”

“You don’t have one?”

“Do you see a lot of electrical appliances?”

Venus gusted out a frustrated sigh. She bent to pick up her purse. “I’ll be back.” Her snarl rumbled in the room after she slammed the door shut.

© 2014 Camy Tang

Monday, September 15, 2014

Regency Goodies Giveaway

To celebrate the release of my debut Regency romance, Prelude for a Lord, I’m holding a huge giveaway of books, hand-knit lace shawls, Jane Austen tea, and violin Christmas ornaments!


I’m giving away FIVE baskets. Each has (1) a bag of whole leaf Jane Austen tea from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England, (2) a violin ornament in honor of my fictional musicians, Lord Dommick and Lady Alethea, (3) a copy of Prelude for a Lord, and (4) a different hand-knit lace shawl (yes, knit by yours truly). I tried to use knitting patterns that Jane Austen or her contemporaries would have used, although some are more Victorian than Regency. The patterns were all from the knitting pattern book, Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.

***PLEASE NOTE: For those of you allergic to wool, all the scarves are made with some sort of animal fiber, so be warned that you might react if the scarves touch your skin.

Basket 1:
Black Mohair Diamond Scarf
Click here for the project page on Ravelry
Yarn is 70% Mohair, 30% Silk
Size: 22" x 59"
The diamond pattern was originally published in 1840 but there’s a good chance it was in common use and passed down orally before this. I am not positive if Jane Austen would have knit it, though, because it might have only been in use by knitters in their isolated locales.

Basket 2:
Sweet Peas Shetland Scarf
Click here for the project page on Ravelry
Yarn is 100% wool. The color way is called “Sweet Peas.”
Size: 69" x 21"
This pattern was first printed in 1842, but it is possible it was passed down orally long before this, perhaps by the Shetlanders in Scotland, since the pattern was first printed as a “Shetland pattern” for a shawl.

Basket 3:

Moss Melon Scarf
Click here for the project page on Ravelry
Yarn is 100% Alpaca. The color way is called “Moss.”
Size: 65" x 18"
The “Melon” refers to the center knitting pattern, which is a really pretty and easy pattern. It’s a Victorian pattern, not a Regency one, but I couldn’t resist because it was so beautiful. It was originally published in Weldon’s Practical Knitter in 1890.

Basket 4:
Raisin Scarf
Click here for the project page on Ravelry
Yarn is 70% Merino wool, 30% Silk. The color way is called “Raisin,” and it’s hard to see in the pictures, but it’s an absolutely beautiful dark purple-brown color with deep glossy notes.
Size: 58" x 12"
The pattern is the same as the Black Mohair shawl above, but with a different yarn and color way, it looks very different.

Basket 5:
Rose Garden Scarf
Click here for the project page on Ravelry
Yarn is 100% wool. The color way is “Rose Garden.”
Size: 60" x 16"
This is one of the simplest and possibly one of the oldest scarf patterns among those published, and I am almost positive Jane Austen would have knit a lace scarf like this. Well, if she knit lace scarves. Although I doubt she ever used yarn in a color way like this. :) While the pattern was first published in 1837, it was probably in use and passed down orally long before this. The center is called a faggoting pattern, and it’s both ridiculously easy and very airy and lacy.

To enter:

You must join my Camille Elliot email newsletter to be eligible for this contest (go to CamilleElliot.com and sign up using the form on the right side of the page. Then fill out the entry form below. Be sure to read the rules.

Extra Twitter entries: Get one extra entry per day if you tweet about this giveaway:
PRELUDE FOR A LORD Regency book & goodies giveaway! http://is.gd/7ajcBg @AuthorCamilleE
(Be sure to include @AuthorCamilleE so I can see your tweet and give you your extra entry.)

Extra Facebook entries: Get one extra entry per day if you share this Facebook post on your own Facebook profile and/or page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCamilleElliot/photos/p.510510819083100/510510819083100/?type=1
(Be sure you share the post at the link above--go to the link and then click "share". Make sure you set the privacy of your share to “public” so I can see that you shared it and give you your extra entry even if I’m not on your friends list.)

And please “like” my Camille Elliot Facebook page, while you’re there. :)

Review: Evernight


Evernight
Evernight by Kristen Callihan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This is my first book by this author and I was really impressed with the complexity of the story world. In a way, it reminded me of contemporary urban paranormal romance like Sherrilyn Kenyon, but steampunk, which for me was not a bad thing at all.

The hero, Will, was totally hot and very sympathetic. He had a great backstory that made me like him right away.

The secondary characters were numerous but interesting, and their subplot threads wove neatly into the main storyline. The plot also had a lot of twists that kept me guessing.

My only problem with this book is that the heroine didn't really resonate with me. I'm not sure exactly why, and it might just be me. My recommendation would be to try this book out yourself to see how you like the heroine.

There's a lot of very hot sex which is a little more graphic than, say, a Harlequin Blaze. It didn't bother me, but I thought I ought to mention that for any reader who might want to know.

Overall, an entertaining steampunk novel.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SUSHI FOR ONE: Original chapter 8

I found this yesterday and had completely forgotten about this. I had originally plotted a different set of dates for Lex in Sushi for One and one of them was Duane the Dweeb. He got combined with/switched to George in a later revision, and I rewrote their date scene, but I found the original scene tucked away in my computer.

For those of you who haven’t read Sushi for One, don’t worry, this won’t ruin the book for you. For those of you who have read it, you’ll hopefully get a chuckle over some jokes I didn’t include in the chapter 8 that’s in the book.

I’m also giving away the last of my author copies of Sushi for One over at Goodreads! Click here to enter (you must belong to Goodreads to enter). Ends September 20th.

All she wanted to do was dump him.

Lex Sakai glanced at the Mark Dacascos look-alike sitting across the table from her, pasted a long-suffering smile on her lips, and felt her lipstick crack right down the center of her bottom lip. She couldn't believe she'd made the effort to dig out her makeup and paint it on for this dork.

"Oh, Duane, you crack me up." She couldn't fake a convincing giggle, but she tittered credibly.

Duane had seemed like such a nice guy when her brother Richard brought him to family dinner a few weeks ago. Well, nice and drop-dead gorgeous with that long, lean face, sharp eyes and rock-hard body.

The end of date number two decided it for her. She shouldn't have answered "Yes" when he asked to kiss her goodnight, but who knew his hands would grow to the size of baseball mitts and play catch with her fanny?

She was rarely at a loss for words. She'd never been "speechless with fury" and had thought it was a silly expression. But every scathing thing her brain thought stuck in her throat and she could only stand there choking while he walked away.

Tonight would be her revenge.

Earlier that evening, she called him. "Duane, I'm running late here at work. Can I meet you at the restaurant?"

"Sure, I made reservations for seven o'clock at Crustaceans. On Santana Row, across from Valley Fair shopping mall?"

He knew she grew up here in the San Francisco bay area, but treated her as if she could get lost in her own house. She swallowed a growl. "Great, I'll meet you there."

As a result, her escape vehicle lay ready in the parking lot.

She had crammed her wallet under the front seat to hide it. Then she put on her game face and prepared to cajole and charm him. When the bill came, she would feign shock that her wallet was missing. "Could you pay for me? I'll pay you back."

Then once they left the building: "Duane, sweetie, kiss off."

It was the perfect plan.

Granted, it wasn't the most honest scheme. Okay, so it was downright dirty.

But his tickling fingers had made her feel filthy. That was a good enough reason for her.

She laughed at Duane's inane joke about fruit flies and ignored the twinge to her conscience. God wouldn't want her to repay evil for evil. To harbor unforgiveness.

To shaft the raunchy lecher for taking liberties. She would relish the look on his face...

He droned on about more fruit fly trivia. She clenched her teeth to keep her jaws from yawning wide.

Wait a minute, did he say what she thought he said?

No, no, no. She hadn't been paying attention. Maybe she was hearing things. There wasn't a sexual innuendo in his comment about a fruit fly's--

Duane flashed a million-dollar smile. A knowing twinkle blipped from his eye.

Lex's jaw plunked open like a big-mouthed bass, but she couldn't make it close. She probably had the same wide, glassy-eyed look as a stuffed fish.

"Excuse me?" She sounded like a toad with pneumonia.

"Don't tell me you've never heard about it? Fruit flies..."

Listening to it the second time made it sound even more lewd. She'd love to connect her pointed-toed mules into a certain part of his anatomy. They were killing her feet anyway.

She managed a strained smile. "How do you know all these things? You must be so smart." Oh, gag me. "Do you read a lot? Have you read the bestseller by that Asian author, Long Duck Ding?"

"No, my sister did..."

Diversionary operation successful.

While he regurgitated his sister's thoughts about the controversial novel, Lex's mind wandered. Maybe she'd just bag the plan and tell him off now. Why waste her whole evening?

She jumped when she felt a rasping movement against her pantyhose-clad calf.

Unless this seafood restaurant happened to own snakes that slithered up guests' legs, Duane was just asking to get decked. With a two-by-four. Or maybe the baseball bat she kept in her trunk.

The waitress' approach saved his life.

"I'll have the crab wonton appetizer, caesar salad, and the garlic roasted crab with garlic noodles."

Hm, at least he had good taste in food. "I'll have the same." Lex handed her oversized menu to the waitress.

"So, Lex." Duane leaned his elbows on the table, causing it to rock toward him. Lex rescued the candle before it tipped.

"So, Duane."

"I'm glad we're having dinner tonight." His smile glowed golden in the romantic lighting.

"Me too."

"This is my favorite restaurant."

"Yeah, I like it too."

"But, you know, this just isn't working."

She did a double-take. "What?"

"You know, us." His bright smile didn't even falter.

No way. This wasn't happening. She began to wish she'd let the candle drip into his lap.

Maybe she misunderstood. "Uh...what do you mean?"

"You're a nice girl and all, but I only asked you out because of your brother."

The room darkened. A blood-red haze blurred his face in her vision. "Did Richard tell you to do this?" She could barely spit the words past her gritted teeth.

"No, but I thought it would make him happy. Seeing as how you're still single."

She spoke as slow and measured as a speech therapist. "And-what-is-that-supposed-to-mean?"

He finally seemed to understand the danger of his situation. "Well...I uh...thought you might be lone--I mean, bored. Want a little fun. A little flirting." He winked. "A few nice dinners."

She couldn't speak.

The idiot kept talking. "Richard always seems to be going out, enjoying himself. Lots of pretty girls, parties. Thought you might like a taste." He beamed at her in friendliness mingled with condescension.

She wondered how she could dispose of his body.

Okay, she already knew Duane's loser status. But the smarter thing to do would have been to wait until after dinner to give her the heave-ho. They hadn't even gotten their appetizers. Now the entire evening would be uncomfortable. Dodo-head.

She could walk out. She had been contemplating it only a moment ago. Breathe fresh air, clear her head, shake the dust from her shoes.

Or she could endure the evening and stick him with the bill. This place didn't exactly have McDonalds' prices.

Escape or revenge?

Freedom or suffering?

Peanut butter sandwiches or garlic roasted crab?

The waitress swept by with a steaming plate. Rich, briny crab, nutty brown butter. Her stomach growled.

"Let's just finish dinner and part friends." Granted, it came out sounding a bit strangled, but Duane smiled and tucked his napkin into his shirt collar.

The crab wontons arrived nestled in a butter lettuce leaf, blonde deep-fried dumplings. As she pierced one with her fork, its bubbled surface flaked pastry onto the stainless steel tines. The outer shell crunched against her teeth while the satiny, cheesy filling melted on her tongue. A ribbon of sweetness from the fresh crab lingered in her mouth.

Duane ate a wonton with relish. "I had a girlfriend who could make these."

Lex bit her tongue. The pain made her start and drop her fork with a clatter against the porcelain plate.

Had no one explained to him that praising past women while on a date was like heckling the enemy football team?

Her next wonton didn't taste quite so divine.

He looked like he would expound on the master-chef girlfriend as soon as he finished chewing. She needed a tangent. "Do you cook?"

"I make a jambalaya that women swoon over..."

Could the man ever say something that didn't involve other females? She listened with half an ear to his masterful feats of culinary genius.

The caesar salad arrived, aromatic with garlic, studded with caramel-colored anchovies. The crisp lettuce popped in her mouth with freshness. The perfect balance for the wontons, and a way to ready her palate for the crab to come. The dressing sizzled with flavor.

Speaking of cooking, she had heard caesar dressing was easy to make. She should learn how, since she ate a salad once a day as part of her fitness program. She wasn't anal about her diet--hence the heart-attack dinner tonight--but she usually ate and exercised to keep herself in prime condition for her competitive volleyball leagues.

Duane also kept himself in great shape. One of only a handful of things they had in common.

He cut an anchovy. "Salads are a great way to lose weight."

That was random. "Um-hm."

"But you need exercise, too. Increase muscle mass, increase metabolism."

Where in the world was he going with this? "How often do you work out?"

"Three times a week minimum, but I usually try to make it more often."

"Do you play sports?"

"I'm taking kickboxing right now. You should try it, it's fun."

She'd seen a boxing match once with her cousin Justin, and the guy getting pummeled looked like a raw tri-tip roast. She knew kickboxing was different, but...no thank you. "Maybe, sure."

"It's great exercise. You'd tone your body a bit."

Uneasiness and suspicion caused a prickling at the back of her eyeballs and a humming along her jaw. "What do you mean?"

He flashed a smile that would charm the knife away from a serial killer. "You'd fit your clothes better and feel great about yourself."

Lex didn't say anything for a long time. A weird emotionless feeling had descended on her. She blinked, wondering what her reaction should be.

Gee, I ran five miles yesterday, and the day before that I did lateral movement drills in the sand. Not enough toning?

You know, I didn't care much for sparring sports, but you're making me rethink that.

My life has been completely changed by your sensitive insight into my weight and self-esteem.


She looked down at herself. She valued comfort over fashion, but she never thought her clothes made her an eyesore. Both her pleated khaki slacks and her tucked-in chambray shirt had ballooned out from her waistband when she sat down. She had believed looser fitting tops hid her salt-cellar boobs, but maybe it hid more than that.

She also knew that her bone structure wasn't exactly delicate. Her wide-enough-to-birth-a-ten-pound-baby hips always made her stand out from her petite, size-zero-jeans cousins.

Wait a minute, what was she doing? She'd let his comments make her doubt herself. If he didn't think any girl over one hundred pounds was "fit," she'd show up puny Mr. Three-times-a-week...

He must have charmed the waitress, too, because she appeared once more and saved him from excruciating humiliation. She whisked away the salad plates and presented the crab with a flourish.

Hot, pungent aromas steamed Lex's face as she leaned over the plate for a long, ecstatic breath. An exotic mix of spices melded with the warm richness of browned butter. The crabs had probably been caught this morning, because only a whiff of brine reached her nose. Her mouth watered.

She lifted the top shell and a sweet tang of the sea seduced her senses. She picked out a forkful of feathery meat and took a bite.

She magnanimously forgave Duane for his unmannerly mouth. He was the reason she sat here in pure bliss.

He nattered on about fat cells, he checked out the mini-skirt on the woman sitting at the next table, and she thought he called her Alicia once.

He could call her Big Bird for all she cared. If she was Hindu she would have reached nirvana.

"Hiya Lex!"

She plummeted straight into hell.

Her cousin Mimi posed beside their table. Her sleek black dress revealed every curve of her tiny, four-feet-eight-and-three-quarter-inch body, while her perky C-cups squished under the low, tight scoop neckline. She flashed perfect white teeth framed by lipstick that screamed "Red Light District."

"How nice to see you here, Lex." Mimi tossed her signature ponytail of shimmering ankle-length hair. Lex had to crush her napkin to keep from grabbing it and yanking.

Mimi promptly ignored her, as usual. She sidled up to Duane. "Hi, I'm Mimi, Lex's cousin."

He seemed dazed by the jiggling mounds waving in his face. "Duane."

Her mesmerizing, half-lidded onyx eyes drew close to him. "You seem familiar. Have we met before?"

Wait a cotton-pickin-minute. What was Mimi doing? If the two-hundred-pound hunk of steroid-built muscle glaring at them from across the room was any indication, Mimi already had a tidy armful. Why go after Lex's measley lamb? She sat forgotten on the other end of the table, feeling like a lump on a couch watching a bad soap opera.

Duane lived up to her abysmal expectations with a delighted smile. "I promise, I wouldn't have forgotten you if we had."

Mimi flashed a mouthful of blinding pearly whites. "Are you sure? I could have sworn I saw you at a naked coed Ultimate Frisbee game."

His answering look smoldered with wicked glee. "Oh, darling, I would only flaunt this body for a private audience."

Lex tried not to gag. A gurgle escaped. After Duane's toning statements, he wasn't exactly on Lex's favorite people list, but she expected at least some semblance of consideration while she remained within reasonable distance. Like three feet away across the dinner table.

Mimi gave her a sly sidelong look. Can't keep your date's attention, Lex?

Heat rushed into Lex's face like her head had been stuck in an oven. Her chest tightened in pain, and her lungs felt punctured. She gasped for a breath that burned down her throat.

Barbie-doll Mimi always made her feel masculine, awkward, and neanderthal-ish. She hunched her shoulders, trying to shrink within her clothes, make herself smaller, more delicate, more feminine.

"Oh!" Mimi's graceful hand touched her shell-shaped ear. "Where's my earring?" She bent to search the floor, affording a generous view down her dress.

Duane paused a moment to stare down at her like a predatory wolf. Then he scooted his chair back and bent to peer at the patterned carpet.

When his head fell at level with hers, Mimi lifted her chin at him. He also tilted toward her.

She smiled a slow, sensual bedroom smile, as if daring him to move the scant inches between them and press his lips to hers.

Duane drooled.

A spasm squeezed through Lex's chest. She felt both ignored and spotlighted at the same time. Shut out by the two lovebirds exchanging heated glances. Laughed at by everyone else in the restaurant who witnessed the poor plain Jane losing her handsome escort in front of her eyes.

Mimi rose languidly to her feet. A business card appeared between two fingers. Where had that come from? Her bosom? As she tilted it toward Duane, he plucked it from her without breaking eye contact.

She dragged a seemingly innocent finger down her neck in an unselfconscious gesture. "It was nice meeting you, Duane."

"The pleasure was all mine."

Mimi's eyes flickered to Lex. "How do you two know each other?"

Oh no. Lex's whole body tensed like an olympic weight lifter attacking the winning barbell. Her heart, which had stopped beating only a moment ago, suddenly slammed into overdrive. Her hands gripped the edge of the table.

Her eyes zapped laserbeams at an oblivious Duane. Her tongue felt thick and swollen. A short croak shot out of her throat, but it was too late.

"Me and Lex? Oh, her brother set us up."

Lex felt like a leaking tire. Breath escaped from her open mouth and her chest cavity deflated.

Mimi knew.

She'd tell everyone.

Lex would never live this down.

She closed her eyes to block out the sight of Mimi's sparkling gaze and surprised, mocking expression. In her world of warm darkness, Mimi's high, trilling voice cut through.

"Oh reeeeeally?" A giggle. "Well next time, I'll be sure to take advantage of Richard's dating service."

Lex's eyes flew open. She needed to salvage her pride behind some white-hot anger. "Stow it, Skipper."

Mimi's smile hardened. The nickname--Barbie-doll's adolescent niece--reminded her of her one sore spot, her child-like height. No amount of push-up bras and scanty clothing could make her look taller than an elementary school student.

Lex tilted her head toward the far table. "Now be a good girl and go home to Papa."

Mimi turned to Duane and leaned her face in close. "I hope I see you sometime?"

He gave a confident movie-star impression. "You just might."

She sashayed away.

Lex regarded Duane with a neutral face and burning eyes. His smile faltered.

Over his shoulder, she spotted the waitress approaching. She snapped up a hand.

"I need a box." Lex glanced at Duane's untouched crab. He'd been too busy spewing out pheromones. "He will, too."

The waitress nodded and hurried away.

Duane blinked in astonishment. Then he reasserted his radiant charm. "You didn't like the crab?"

"I'm not hungry."

He seemed oblivious to her clipped tone. "That's good. For you, lower calorie intake will definitely--"

She couldn't believe him. "Do yourself a favor and please stop talking."

He halted mid-sentence, his mouth open. He flashed more teeth at her. "Ah...Lex, your brother and I are good friends."

Another lowering suspicion shot tension down her spine. "And?"

"You see him pretty often, right?"

She pressed her mouth together and regarded him with a narrowed gaze.

"Would you mind asking him to pay you back for my half of tonight's dinner? I, uh...I'm out of cash..."

© 2014 Camy Tang

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Cover for TREACHEROUS INTENT

I just turned in book #6 in my Sonoma series, GONE MISSING, which will be out in May 2015, but I also just got the cover art for book #5, TREACHEROUS INTENT! Isn’t it neat?

In the book, the hero and heroine, Liam and Elisabeth, head to a town called Penny Bay, which I based off of Mendocino, California, one of my favorite towns to visit. Mendocino has a beautiful lighthouse on the edge of the cliff. So of course, I write about it in my book with lots of bad guys with guns. :)

(Also in TREACHEROUS INTENT, readers will meet Joslyn, who has her own story in GONE MISSING next year. :)

TREACHEROUS INTENT releases this December!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Terralton Abbey from PRELUDE FOR A LORD

When I wrote Prelude for a Lord, I admit I put Lord Dommick’s home in there deliberately.

I had visited Newstead Abbey in Nottingham, England, and fell in LOVE, and I knew I wanted to have that house and grounds in my book somehow. So when coming up with Dommick’s character and family, I modeled his family seat, Terralton Abbey, after Newstead Abbey, which was the home of the poet Lord Byron.

This is the front of the house, including the circular driveway that Dommick drives up to. I placed the front door a little differently but essentially Terralton Abbey looks the same.



Here is what the front of the house looked like in 1880:


This is the back of the house with one of its lovely gardens:


Here is the square pool and woody lawn area where Alethea plays with Margaret:



And here is the lovely river bank and grotto where Alethea and Dommick kiss:



Sigh! I wish I could go back there again!

Stay tuned for a big PRELUDE FOR A LORD giveaway sometime in mid to late September! If you’ve already bought the book, there will be lots of cool goodies!

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