Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Release: Stronghold Novella

April Fool's!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah I know, I'm a bitch.  Do people outside the U.S. do this???  April 1 we play practical jokes on each other.  One year, before we actually got engaged, Hubby and I announced our engagement on FB.  No one fell for it, sadly.  I never do the "I'm Pregnant" April Fool's thing though because um... helloooooo, talk about jinxing yourself!!!

At any rate, this is my clever but really not-so-clever and probably kind of mean way of playing an April Fool's joke on SOMEONE this year and also of letting you all know that I'm going to be writing some Stronghold novellas!  And the first one is going to be about Liam and Hilary and it's going to go between Taming the Tease and Lexie and Patrick's book Protector.  I know, I know, I get a lot of people telling me how excited they are for Lexie and Patrick's book, but the novella isn't going to take me very long to write (hopefully) and it's going to be about a very exciting event that happens in Taming the Tease but which I actually won't be able to go into detail during the book.

Oh, also, in other news... it only took one day for From Terra Ch. 5 to be out on Literotica (crazy! but awesome).  So if you're interested in that, you can read it now.  It's a short chapter but it sets up some important stuff.

Anyway, to make up for the fact that I'm mean, here's that Taming the Tease teaser I promised you all last week =):


The rest of the week, Maria didn't make it out to the pool while the Greek God was there.  Which was disappointing.  She ended up having to work later than usual a couple nights and was just too exhausted the next morning to get up early enough.  Not that it kept her from the pool, but being there just wasn't nearly as exciting without the possibility of running into him.  And it kept her thinking about the fact that he lived just a floor below her. 
Every so often, she actually had a full Saturday off.  This was one of those weeks and she decided to make some granola.  A guy with a body like that who worked out every morning probably wouldn't want a plate of brownies, but she could make some pretty killer homemade granola.  It was healthy, easy, and gave her an excuse to more formally welcome him to the neighborhood.  

Yeah, most people weren't that neighborly anymore, but that was okay.  He had no way of knowing that she didn't normally do this.  And she had mentioned Mrs. Pierce yesterday, so he knew that she was friendly with at least one of her other neighbors.  The others she at least all knew by name, which wasn't too hard since there were only three floors of apartments, with four apartments on each floor except the ground which only had three plus the laundry room.  It was part of why she liked living in a garden apartment; even if you didn't know your neighbors, you at least knew who they were after a couple of months.

The smell of toasted oats, almonds and coconut filled her apartment as she got ready.  When she took the tray out of the oven, everything looked nicely browned and crispy.  Yum.  Just give it time to cool and then she'd add something a bit sweet, maybe raisins or even chocolate chips.  Or maybe just a bit of honey.

She'd picked out her favorite pair of jean shorts - not daisy dukes because she didn't like her ass cheeks hanging out, but they fitted her curves nicely and came to just about three inch under her butt which meant that she was still showing off a fair amount of leg but she didn't feel like she was showing too much - and a bright blue tank top.  Thick straps with a deep V-neck that was edged with lace, it had an empire waistline so that the under her bust it fluttered a little more freely, covering the parts of her stomach that she wasn't a huge fan of.  Strange how she could feel like walking out in a bikini, but she didn't like it when her clothing was stuck to her rolls.  

Maria shrugged.  Just one of the many contradictions of being a woman she supposed.

Since her hair was relatively well behaved today, curling without too much frizz, she decided to let it fly free.  Chances were she'd put it up later, but sometimes she liked the feeling of the big mass bouncing around her shoulders and upper back.  It just felt fun.  Plus she'd been told by a lot of men that they loved seeing her hair like that - although most of them wanted to touch it and run their fingers through it which just made her want to smack them.  Naturally curly hair did awful things when people ran their fingers through it.

Mixing the granola up with some raisins, deciding against the chocolate chips, Maria hoped he would be home.  It was the middle of the day on a Saturday though, so her chances should be pretty good.  Unfortunately she wasn't on the side of the building where she'd have a view  of the pool, but if he followed his usual pattern it was too late in the day for him to be there anyway.  Humming to herself, she wrapped up the granola in the red-colored plastic wrap she had left over from Christmas (still).

When she rapped on his door, she shifted back and forth on her feet, feeling a bit nervous and hoping that he really was as nice as he'd seemed at the pool.  

"Coming," she heard him call.

Well at least that answered the question about whether or not he was home.  She shifted her weight again, finding a comfortable position and pasting a smile on her face before she could talk herself into abandoning the granola at his door and running.  It was just nerves.  Totally normal.

The door opened and she nearly dropped her jaw.  He was wearing a black tank top that was practically suctioned against his gorgeous body and a pair of workout shorts and he looked absolutely, effortlessly delicious.  The dark color of his tank top just made his golden boy looks even brighter and his blue eyes glow even bluer.  Everything about him screamed confident male, from the shaggy mess of his hair to the way he was leaning against the door frame.  It wasn't until a slow smile crept across those mobile lips that she realized she was staring.

"Um... hi again.  I brought you some home-made granola.  You know, to welcome you to the neighborhood.  Officially.  I was gonna make cookies, but I wasn't sure if... um yeah."  Mentally screaming at herself to shut up, Maria thrust the granola at him.  His eyebrows went up in surprise, but he accepted the offering, the warmth of his hand brushing against hers and making her skin tingle as he took the packet of granola from her.  

She was just about to flee until she realized that his eyes had dropped to her chest and he was making a slow perusal of her own outfit.  Warmth flooded through her and she suddenly felt a million times more comfortable.  When his eyes came back up to hers, unashamed of his blatant examination, she was able to smile at him completely naturally.

"Thanks," he said.  "It looks delicious.  And for the record, snickerdoodles are my favorite."

"Favorite?"

His smile was almost blinding. "Kind of cookie.  But granolas one of my guilty pleasures.  I've never had homemade granola before."

"It's really easy to make."

"I'll have to get you to teach me sometime."  He glanced over his shoulder, she couldn't see at what.  "I'd invite you in for a drink or something, but I was actually just about to head out to hang with some friends."

"Maybe some other time," she said, letting some of her natural flirtatiousness slip into her manner, since he seemed like he might be receptive.  "I'm the daytime manager at Murphy’s Meals, if you ever wanna come in and visit.  I can get you a drink for free."

Rick gave her a long measuring look and she actually got the impression of his eyes shuttering a bit, shutting her out.  The change was subtle but abrupt and she blinked.

"Sorry, I probably won't be able to do that." 

She huffed, bringing herself back fully upright, thoroughly annoyed.  Yeah, she got it.  Shouldn't have been surprised that a guy that looked like him would be willing to have a drink with a girl that looked like her in private, but not out where someone might see them.

"Shocker," she said with an eye roll, falling back on her normal sarcasm.  God guys like him pissed her off.  Jerks who didn't hide their asshole tendencies were at least honest.  

As she was about to turn and flounce away, his free hand snapped out and grabbed her arm.  Not hard enough to hurt, but it was not a gentle hold either.  Maria jumped.  Damn he moved fast.  

"What do you mean by that?" he demanded.

She raised an eyebrow and rolled her eyes at him.  "I'm just saying I should have expected someone as in shape as you wouldn't want to be seen out in public with me for a drink.  You're nice enough when there's no one around to see or judge you, but not when someone might be watching.  Guys like you are so predictable."

"That's not what I meant."

"Sure it wasn't.  Look, I don't really care if you're a jerk, I'm used to it.  I just don't know why you bothered pretending not to be one, if you're going to be an asshole at least be an honest one."  

The little growling noise he made under his breath didn't frighten her, although he was going to get it in the nards if he didn't let go of her and soon.  It was amazing how many guys didn't want to think they were 'that way' and got pissy when it was pointed out to them.  Maria considered it her duty to shove their prejudices in their faces.  Some of them even came out the better for it. 

He flipped her around and pressed her up against the wall and she stared up at him.  For some reason, even though she was trapped and probably should have been screaming for her life, she didn't feel threatened.  Just turned on.  Blinking, she stared up into a pair of very angry looking blue eyes.  His body was long and hot and very... very... hard.

Everywhere.

16 comments :

  1. I HATE YOU........April Fool's!

    Sir_Nick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. heh heh, hey, you finally got the teaser you wanted! I didn't make you wait very long into April =D

      Delete
    2. Yeah, you dropped it on the one day a year that I don't believe any thing I see, hear or read. Now I don't even know if the teaser is real.
      Can't decide if you deserve more spankings or none at all! :P Well done!

      Sir_Nick

      Delete
    3. It's real, I promise! I'm too busy to put THAT much effort into a joke =D Much easier to copy and paste the real thing than to come up with something entirely new!

      Delete
  2. That was some tease!!!!!

    We do april's fool here in Brazil too, but no one played with me today... then again I had my head full of problems... oh well... you played and caught me too, I was 'Yay! and damn' LOL

    I do look forward to the novellas and to Taming the tease!!!! this book is going to be fun!

    Marta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha oh good, so at least April Fool's isn't just a weird U.S. thing so that my international readers don't think I'm crazy! lol. Glad you liked the teaser!!!!

      Delete
    2. OMG I am so anxious to see how Rick answers to that!!! I loved it and now am dying to read the rest!!!!

      Marta.

      Delete
  3. Wow what a teaser. I like Maria attitude already she is going to be fun. Now I really can't wait. Please hurry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked!!! Maria is turning out to be a lot more fun than I had originally realized =D when I wrote the original outline, I didn't have a good grasp on her character; as she's grown, things have gotten a LOT more interesting and I've become a big fan! For a bit I was worried that this was just going to be a filler book between Angel & Adam and Lexie & Patrick, but I've totally fallen in love with Rick and Maria and I'm REALLY happy about that!

      Delete
  4. Too short! More please!
    When's the book going to be out? Seriously cannot wait.
    Tx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still only around halfway through it, but I'm starting to pick up on writing speed again... I'm hoping end of this month / beginning of next month.

      Delete
  5. I've learnt three new words/expressions too: garden apartment (was getting confused as a garden flat here is on the ground floor, yet you said Rick was below her), snickerdoodles and nards (I'm thinking 'nads as in gonads i.e. balls?).
    Tx
    P.S. We do April Fool's, but it has to happen before noon, otherwise the person playing the joke is the Fool for the next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ah, yep! new vocab -
      Garden apartments are low-rise apartments that only have a few levels and have no elevator because they don't go high enough.
      Snickerdoodles are like sugar cookies but also with cinnamon NOM NOM NOM. they're delicious.
      and yep, nards are balls =D

      That's an interesting twist on April Fool's... kinda cool!

      Delete
  6. Oh, I love Liam and Hilary! They are my favorite couple in the series. Can't wait for the novella.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty excited about revisiting them =)

      Delete
  7. I am in serious need here! CANNOT WAIT for this book! So excited for you.

    ReplyDelete