Jumping to 2001: Our Time Travel Romance Continues

Still with me? This is our second-to-the-last chapter of Our Love is Here to Stay. The feedback has been great, although many of you have forgone the serial strategy and bought the eBook on Amazon. I understand that need, believe me. I have a hard time putting down a book until the end and have even been known to the read the last page first! But for those of you who embraced this process, here’s Chapter Seven.

“Aunt Trish, tell me the story again, puh-lease.”

“Lilah, your mother will have my head if I don’t send you to bed right now. Besides, I have told you the story a hundred times before.”

“I know, but I never get tired of hearing it. You always make it sound so real. I love how you make it sound like it happened to you. You know, Aunt Trish, you don’t fool me by calling the girl Patty, either.”

“Well, my lovely you are a hard one to fool. You are very smart for your eight years and too old for stories.” Patricia straightened the room around her great-niece who was sitting up in bed, her bottom lip protruding in a giant pout. Cleary she was refusing to take no for an answer. “Your mother and father will be home soon and they won’t let me babysit again if you are still awake.”

“Of course they will, Aunt Trish. They don’t have to pay you.”

Patricia bent over the pile of clothes on the floor to hide the grin on her face. Her great-niece really was too smart for her age, and very observant. Still, she loved the child as if she were her own. She schooled her features, flicked a stray wisp of hair that was stuck to her forehead and straightened up, ignoring the ache in her lower back. She moved to the dresser, folding the shirts and pants in her hand. When she got to the small jeans with the flower appliques, she stopped, lost in memories for a moment. Matthew was right. Everyone wore jeans now, even eight-year old children.

“Did you hear me? Are you listening, Aunt Trish? Are you thinking of a story to tell me?” Patricia heard the excitement in the little girl’s voice and relented. But a different story tonight. Patricia didn’t think she could handle the emotions associated with talking about Matthew. She missed her sister and Matthew, and her emotions were too close to the surface lately. It wouldn’t do to get all teary in front of Lilah.

Shaking off the moment, Patricia pasted on a smile and turned to her favorite relative. She loved all of her sisters’ children. Her older sister had 3. And now each of them had children too. Her younger sister had moved to Maryland with her husband years ago, so she only saw that side of the family on rare occasions. But Mary’s children, and their children, had remained close both physically and emotionally all their lives. She had three great-nephews and then this lone little girl.

Patricia knew she spoiled her, but at age 72 and with no children of her own, no one argued with her. Soon she would be too old to bathe and pick up after the precocious child, but until then, she planned to take every opportunity to play nanny for a day or two. And Lilah was correct; her niece and her husband were grateful for the free help.

“If I promise to pretend to be asleep if mommy comes, will you tell me the story again?”

“You minx. You will not pretend anything. I will tell you a different story, a shorter one, and you will close her eyes and try to sleep. Deal?”

“Deal,” the child repeated, putting her small hand in Patricia’s larger one and giving it one good shake. Patricia reached over her head to turn out the bedside lamp, dimmed the overhead light and rested on the side of the bed. She stroked the small child’s hair off her forehead, did a quick survey of the room to assure herself that everything was straightened up and finally relaxed her shoulders.

“Once upon a time, “ she began in a sing-song voice, kicking off her shoes to get more comfortable, “there lived a girl named Patty. Patty was very fortunate. She had a mother and father who loved her and two sisters, one older and one younger, with whom she would remain close all her life.” Patty’s voice cracked on the last words, thinking of her sister Mary who had died of cancer only last year. She missed her more with the passing of time, their daily phone calls, their reminisces. Mary had grown closer as they aged, and time was not healing the pain of her loss. Patricia was now the matriarch of the family and stand-in grandmother for this little child.

“When Patty was old enough to work, she got a job as a secretary to a nice man whose family owned a big company. In those days,” Patricia explained, “women became secretaries, nurses or teachers.”

“Or moms,” Lilah chirped.

“Or moms,” Patricia agreed, snuggling back against the headboard, feeling the reassuring warmth of the little body beside her. Lilah smelled of shampoo, baby powder and wholesome child. Patricia inhaled the fresh scent once more before continuing. “But Patty knew something that other girls did not know. She knew that someday soon women would be doctors and lawyers and anything they wanted to be.”

'Cause Matthew told her so,'Lilah piped up. 'Matthew told her when he visited from the future.' Time-travel romance at www.madisonmichael.net/time-romance-seven Click To Tweet

“Cause Matthew told her so,” Lilah piped up. “Matthew told her when he visited from the future.”“Yes, but that is not the story I am telling tonight.” Patricia planted a soft kiss on Lilah’s forehead to take the sting out of her words. “Continuing…Patty spent a year learning about all the things she could study and do. She considered becoming a doctor – she had been good at science in school, just like you.” She tapped the tip of her great-niece’s nose and gave her a proud smile. “She thought about being a doctor,” Patricia repeated, “but decided there were too many years of school for that. She thought about being a lawyer, but that posed the same problem.”

“So what happened?” the little girl prodded, anxious to know the story.

“What happened? Well…” Patricia enjoyed dragging the words out and watching her great-niece squirm. “She was studying a book on careers at her desk one day when the nice man she worked for happened to walk by.”

“What’s careers?”

“Jobs, honey. A career is the work you do to make money. When you decide you want to do something for your work all the time, learn more about it, grow and develop in the job, then it becomes your career.” Lilah nodded her head In comprehension.

“I want a career someday, like you Aunt Trish.”

“Good for you, Pumpkin. Patty was very lucky that the man did not scold her for reading her book on company time…” Patricia was interrupted again.

“What’s ‘company time’?”

“Company time is when the people you work for expect you to do their work, not your own.”

“Oooh,” Lilah responded, letting the concept sink in.

“The nice man asked what Patty was doing and she explained to him that she wanted a career, and she was trying to choose one.”

“Cause she had promised never, ever, ever to marry.”

“That’s right, Lilah, because she had vowed never to marry.”

“I think that’s sad, though.”

“I think that is another story, pixie.” Patricia remarked. “How about I continue with this one for now?”

“Okay,” Lilah responded in a small voice followed by a big yawn.

“Where was I? Oh yes, instead of getting in trouble with the nice man, he suggested that they work together to find her a career. He was very wise and he had a lot of friends in business that could help Patty. Soon the girl was training in sales and traveling to exciting places like New York City and Washington, DC.”

“I’ve been to Washington to see Auntie DeeDee,” Lilah bragged. “It was cool.”

“Yes, I know you have, pixie. Well, Patty thought Washington was cool too. She also thought selling was cool and she was good at it. She sold lots for her company and they gave her more work to do and more money for doing it. Soon other sales people worked for her and she was a Vice President, the first woman in her company.” Patricia paused in her story, savoring again that moment when she became the first female Vice President of Sales. Little did she know then that she would rise to be Executive VP before retirement.

Realizing that there was no little voice urging her to continue, Patricia glanced over to find Lilah asleep and breathing deeply. Careful not to disturb her, Patricia slid carefully from the bed, picked up her shoes and flipped off the light. Moving slowly to avoid bumping into anything, she moved to the door and closed it halfway behind her before moving down the hallway past the living room to the kitchen, where she washed the remnants of a macaroni and cheese dinner followed by chocolate ice cream with sprinkles and whipped cream. It had been a perfect night.

Exhausted from caring for the small child, Patricia collapsed into a kitchen chair and rested her elbows on the table and her head on her hands. She was getting too old to chase Lilah around. At 72, she was arthritic and slow-moving. She had given up tennis several years ago when she had knee replacement surgery. Patricia didn’t miss chasing the ball around the court as much as she missed the 30 minutes spent rehashing the game with friends after.

Her world was getting smaller. She no longer worked. She had given up her position on the Board at the hospital, and then tennis. Her friends were moving south for the warmer winters and now her beloved sister was gone too. There were fewer people with whom to go to lectures, or attend a concert. She was living more in her memories, and she knew it, but they kept her warm at night.

She was living more in her memories, and she knew it, but they kept her warm at night. Read this free time-travel romance www.madisonmichael.net/time-romance-seven Click To Tweet

Matthew would be born now. Hell, he would be sixteen years old, just on the cusp of manhood, busy discovering girls. She had considered trying to see him – surreptitiously of course, on several business trips to California. But that had been years ago, when he was still a small boy. Now, she suspected, she would be able to see signs of the man he was becoming.

If she was going to make the trip, it needed to be soon. She would be too frail to travel alone in a few more years, if she made it that long. Her sister’s cancer had given her quite a scare and now she counted her future In days and months instead of years. She hoped she was wrong about their genetics, but feared she was not.

A trip to San Francisco might be lovely. In their long talks, Matthew had told her of his childhood. She knew he grew up in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco. She believed she could find him easily enough, but then what? What could a sixteen-year-old boy want with an old woman? He would not have memories to rehash. She would just be a crazy old bag annoying him, stalking him.

Getting a Diet Coke from the fridge, Patricia wandered around the apartment. Her great-nephews would be home soon. They had a curfew of midnight and it was approaching that now. She dropped, weary, onto the sofa, sinking into the soft cushions, remembering too late that it would be nearly impossible to rise again. Joshua could help her. He was a strapping boy of fourteen now.

Sitting alone with her thoughts, Patricia allowed her memories to swamp her. She remembered going back to The Green Mill Thursday after Thursday for more than a year. Then she started traveling for work. Still, she returned there sporadically, just in case, for another year before acknowledging that her premonition was accurate. With each visit, she felt anew the loss and heartbreak, the difficulty of dealing with Matthew’s absence alone. She felt it now as if it had just happened.

Our Love Is Here to StayShe had finally confessed to Mary, who had wanted her to see a doctor for her affliction, making Patricia feel lonelier still. Despite her promise to wait, Patricia did date. Mary brought home boy after boy, trying to help cure her hallucinations, but none were Matthew. No one made her heart flutter or her pulse race as he had. Eventually Mary stopped trying and Patricia dove into her work and swore off men.

She smiled now to remember how her reputation had suffered in those early days, the sly looks and the bad boys who tried to date her, wanting only to get in her pants. When she stayed single year after year those rumors all died down, replaced by pitying looks for the girl who had been jilted. Those looks eventually changed. Instead women looked at her with envy for all she had achieved. Men too.

She was still an attractive woman, straight and lean. Her blond locks had gone gray, then almost white several years ago. She hadn’t bothered coloring her hair. She still loved to dance and hike and wander the streets downtown window shopping. But she was lonely. She could only fill so many hours with her sister’s grandchildren, or with what few friends she still could meet for a casual cup of coffee.

Reaching into her bag, stretching far to avoid getting up off the sofa, Patricia pulled out her journal. Keeping this diary, telling her story for someone to discover when she was gone, that was what kept her going now. She relived every glorious moment with Matthew and captured it on paper. People would think she had been insane, but she didn’t care. She wanted someone, somewhere, to know that she had once known a great love, that she had loved and been loved in return.

Someone other than the small girl upstairs who utterly believed in Matthew.

 

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Snowbound with Mr. Wrong, a sweet romance from Barbara White Daille

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Barbara White Daille. Welcome, Barbara! I’m anxious to hear more about the book you are going to share with us today.

Thanks to Maddy for the invitation to come back for another visit! Today I’m sharing the first book in my Snowflake Valley series, sweet romance from Entangled Bliss.

This is from the back cover of Snowbound with Mr. Wrong:

Worst. Day. Ever. After Lyssa Barnett’s sister tricks her into reprising her role at Snowflake Valley’s annual children’s party, she doesn’t think anything can be worse than squeezing into her too-small elf costume. Then tall, dark, and way too handsome Nick Tavlock shows up to play Santa…and an unexpected storm leaves them snowbound in the isolated lodge.

The last thing Nick wants is to spend a cozy Christmas Eve with a trio of kids and the woman who dumped him. But as much as Lyssa frustrates him, he can’t stop thinking about her. And soon, he’s fighting very un-Santa-like thoughts of kissing a certain sexy Miss Elf under the mistletoe. As Nick starts to fall for Lyssa all over again, he knows it will take nothing short of a miracle to have Lyssa in his arms on Christmas Day. 

Buy Links for  Snowbound with Mr. Wrong:

Excerpt from Snowbound with Mr. Wrong:

This is from early on in the book, when the party is over but Nick and Lyssa’s troubles have just begun. They’ve tried to leave the lodge, only to hit disaster:

No matter how she tried, she couldn’t get the rear wheels to inch, angle, or crawl up and over the edge of the roadway. He could see the frustration in her face. When he touched her arm and she looked his way, he couldn’t miss the despair in her eyes. He gave her a smile he hoped she would find reassuring. “All right, now we move on to plan B.”

“What’s plan B?” Mollie asked.

“We get out and go see what’s blocking the road.”

They couldn’t tell anything from inside the car. In the short time since they had stopped moving, a layer of white had covered the windows. Lyssa tried the wipers, which left only frozen smears on the windshield.

Brent was the first one to exit the car. Nick had made it halfway through his door when the kid returned, brushing snow from his hair and shoulders.

“It’s a tree!” For the first time since Nick had met him, the teenager’s voice shifted out of neutral. “It’s blocking the whole road. No way we’re getting out of here!”

Nick pulled himself upright, standing on his good foot, and looked across the car’s roof at Lyssa. Her already fair skin had turned a shade whiter.

“I wanna see!” Tommy yelled, scrambling out of the back seat.

Mollie followed on his heels. “Me, too.”

“Stay right here for a minute,” Lyssa ordered.

She came around the rear of the car to Nick’s side. “This couldn’t have happened too long ago,” she said, sounding bewildered. “We weren’t that far behind all the others.”

“Far enough. Our bad luck,” he muttered, trying to put weight on his right foot without her noticing. When he grimaced, she couldn’t help but see. “Our bad luck—and me slowing us down.”

A twinge of guilt even stronger than his pain shot through him. Frustration overwhelmed him. He thumped his fist on the roof of the car and was rewarded by a shower of snow falling onto his boot.

Great. A sprain on one foot, frostbite on the other.

“You’re not the only one who brings bad luck,” she said cryptically. Not bothering to explain, she shook her head. “And you didn’t slow us that much. If anything, it was me, worrying about all those leftovers and taking too much time to put them away.” Her eyes misted as she looked up at him.

His heart seemed to wrench, and all he wanted to do was wrap his arms around her. But he needed to stay on task. “We can’t think about all that now.”

“I know.” She dropped her voice to a hoarse whisper. “Nick. Obviously, everyone else from the party made it past this point. They don’t know about the tree. They can’t know we’re stranded here. And…”

He nodded grimly. “And they won’t be coming back to pick us up.”

About the Author of Snowbound with Mr. Wrong:

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!

Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed “The End” to her first novel many years later…in the eighth grade. Now she’s writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:  https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.

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One for my Baby and One More for the Road

Only three chapters to go…We are coming to the end of the serial romance “Our Love is Here to Stay”. I hope you are enjoying the story. I would love to hear from you about both the story and the concept of serializing it. Meanwhile, if you want to own the eBook, it is not available for purchase on Amazon and other purchase sites.

“What do we do now?” Patty couldn’t hide the tremor in her voice which was rising in an unattractively shrill manner. “What if I’m not here when you get back?”

“It’s a month or two, Patty, that’s all,” Matthew reassured her, wiping a stray tear from her cheek. “I’ve been gone for weeks before and you were always here when I returned. Always. I will be back as soon as possible.”

“I know you say that,” she accused, pointing a finger in a scolding manner, “and I am sure you mean it, but we have no control here. I’m scared.”

Matthew took her in his arms to comfort her, but Patty felt no comfort. Last Thursday he told her that his assignment was over and he was going back home. Ever since then she had been tossing, turning and crying – crying all the time but unable to explain why to anyone else.

Her mother suggested a doctor, her father recommended a vacation. Her work performance was slipping. Patty was terrified to leave the city, afraid of changing whatever it was that resulted in her being able to be with Matthew in their time warp.

“Don’t cry, honey,” Matthew begged her for the fourth time tonight. “You look so beautiful. That’s a new dress, right? I love the floral print.”

“Don’t change the subject on me, Matthew Herrington,” she commanded. “Yes it is a new dress, but your wiles won’t work. I want to know when you will be back.”

“Let’s dance,” he suggested. She gave him a scowl, thinking he was trying to distract her again until he added, “I just want to hold you in my arms.”

“Well, how can I argue with that?” she responded coquettishly, flashing the first real smile as hof the night. They held hands as they walked toward the dance floor, stopping to say hello to a few friends along the way. Now that Matthew was a regular, he knew everyone in Patty’s crowd by name, knew the wait staff and management, and the boys in the band, who always played extra slow songs for the couple.

She stepped into Matthew’s embrace. It felt like coming home: Read this time-travel romance www.madisonmichael.net/new-serial-romance Click To Tweet

She stepped into Matthew’s embrace. It felt like coming home: secure, warm, natural. How would she go on not knowing when or if he would return? She felt the tears forming and looked up at Matthew’s handsome face with shimmering eyes.

“Honey,” he warned her “if you keep crying I will have no choice but to kiss away those tears.”

“Here? On the dance floor?” she taunted him.

“Right here where everyone can see.”

Patty had lost several friends since meeting Matthew six months ago. The talk that they ignored in the early stages of their relationship had given way to rumors and innuendo that had destroyed her reputation and relationships. At first she had been upset, but she grew a thicker skin with each passing week.

“Go for it,” she told Matthew, proud to have found a way to use another of his twenty-first century phrases. “Make it a good one.”

Matthew didn’t disappoint, pulling her tight against his muscular chest, lowering his head and taking her lips with his. He shifted his head to a slight angle for better access, resting his hands scandalously low on her back and teasing her with his tongue. Her blood heated in an instant, leaning into him for strength, wanting to be closer, to be naked against this man. She wanted to be the scandalous floozy her friends accused her of being.

Little by little, the couple had allowed themselves to increase their kisses, unable to keep their hands off each other any longer. She had lost all sense of place and time, just wanting his exploring hands on her aching breasts or between her legs where she was moist and throbbing. She was still embarrassed when she remembered that it was Matthew who stopped them from doing something shameful, not her.

“Remember where we are, Patty,” he reminded her in a low, husky voice, ,putting space between them and adjusting the obvious bulge in his pants. “We have to stop.”

Feeling desperate, aroused and hungry for more, Patty had suggested the unthinkable. “Let’s go in the men’s room. Who will know?”

“We will know, Hon. And so will the whole world if you get pregnant. How the hell would you explain that?” Twice Matthew had considered taking Patty to the men’s room and finishing what he started. Both times they had discussed birth control. She had not been offended, surprising herself by her willingness to consider the possibility of sex outside of wedlock.

“I need to think about it,” she had responded. “But I think you should buy the – you know – just in case.” Her face had flamed with heat and infused with color. If she couldn’t talk about it, how would she ever go through with it?

Their next birth control conversation was filled with disappointment. Matthew had been to the drugstore, but when he came into The Green Mill, his pockets were empty. He tried a second time with the same results. Like his phone, what he bought in 2015 wouldn’t transport to 1950.

She could never, ever buy them in 1950 to solve the problem. She would die of embarrassment. “The pharmacist knows me. He knows my family. I’m not married. How could I ever explain?” she confided to Matthew. “It would be too shameful.”

So she had settled for groping in the shadowy booth, getting as excited and as frustrated as Matthew was, but going no further than that. Tonight, she felt desperate, considered going much further with no protection. Thank god his cooler head prevailed. She had a bad feeling about the future – that this was goodbye.

buy the ebookHow would she move past this? She was madly in love with Matthew. She had thought early on that she loved him, and now, six months later she was sure of it. His quirky phrases made her laugh. She loved his willingness to research that time before he was born, learn more about the future just so he could share it with her. She hung on his words he wove magic tales that were more fantastic than any science fiction stories. His handsome face, powerful hands and wondrous kisses inflamed her body and warmed her soul.

Patty wanted, more than anything, to have a future with him, to marry Matthew and have his children, but she was realistic too, feeling beyond fortunate each Thursday to discover that he was still there, in her life for another week. This felt too good to be true, and Patty had learned long ago to be suspicious of myths and legends. In truth, when she was away from Swing Night at The Green Mill, this entire situation felt like a fairytale, a fairytale that could never have a happy ending.

She was a strong woman and she would bear his departure even as she prayed for his return. But she was not stupid. She planned to do everything she could tonight to entice him back sooner. She would grab every moment she could with this amazing man.

“Slut,” she heard someone say under their breath, shaking her equilibrium and immediately killing the romantic moment. Matthew’s head shot up from the kiss, and he missed a dance step, avoiding her toe by barely an inch.

“Who said that?” Matthew looked around, fire in his eyes. She knew he was spoiling for a fight. He hated that people thought less of her for being with him, but she had reassured him she didn’t care. He once stopped kissing her for a whole week, but capitulated when she flirted and cajoled him to embrace her again.

He told her that in 2015 people kissed in public all the time. “Let’s pretend it’s 2015,” Patty suggested each time he hesitated to hold her or press his mouth to hers in hot kisses that she craved the other days of the week. “We are grown ups. Let all these people think what they want.”

Matthew was aware he was hurting Patty’s chances of meeting a nice man and settling down. He spoke to her of it often, including now, as he moved to leave the dance floor, hand in hand. Her friends had turned their backs – some friends, and the rumors even reached his own ears.

He told Patty of a night in the men’s room when a bunch of guys were trashing her. They called her ‘fast’ or ‘easy’ and speculated on just how far she would go. Their eyes grew wide and their mouths formed an alarmed O when they realized Matthew was in their midst. Matthew made a fish face when he imitated their surprised countenances for Patty. He repeated the incident as a cautionary tale, but all she did was laugh at Matthew’s fish face.

“Matthew, ignore them. It doesn’t matter. Just dance with me,” she begged, pulling him back onto the small wooden floor. “Hold me tight and dance with me.”

They finished the dance, although she felt the tension in his shoulders and understood he still wished he could hit someone. The moment was spoiled for them so as soon as the song ended they returned to their seats, sliding into the dark booth. Matthew slid an arm around her shoulder but she shrugged it off, turning to face him squarely, a serious glint in her eyes.

“What can you and Jonah do to get you back here sooner?” she queried with no preamble. “I have a bad feeling. I think anything more than a few weeks is risky.”

“Sweetheart, you’re overreacting. It will be fine.” Matthew was placating her, but Patty had this rock lodged in her chest – dark, overwhelming fear. She needed him to understand, but how did she explain what she saw as a sign when it was just a feeling? Oh hell, why not believe in premonitions at this point? They already believed in time-travel.

“Matthew, your sweet talk is not going to work. I have a bad feeling and it’s real. I just know it. You need to come back sooner. We cannot take a chance.”

“Patty, I am not sweet talking you. I would not risk what we have for anything, but I have so much to do to get things set up with Jonah. I can only quit my job if we get this new venture moving. If I am my own boss I can work from Chicago. If I can’t quit my job, they can send me anywhere. You understand that?”

“Of course I understand that,” she parroted. “But why so long? You are estimating six weeks or more. It’s too risky.”

“We have meetings scheduled. We need signed contracts with our first clients – the good news is that we have clients lined up. We need office space, furniture and a bit of cash on hand. That takes time. And I have to give at least two weeks notice.”

“Can’t you give notice while you do all that other stuff?” It made perfect sense to her. Why could he not see that?

Matthew blew an exasperated sigh through his lips. “Patty, love, this is hard for me too. Jonah and I have a plan. We have worked it out to complete in about six weeks and then I will come running back to you and a lovely Chicago autumn. You can teach me more steps of the Lindy Hop when I get back,” he offered.

“I don’t want to teach you the damn Lindy Hop,” she blurted, then covered her mouth in horror. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to speak to you that way. I am just so scared.”

She ducked her head, pressed her face into Matthew’s chest and inhaled the scent of him deep into her. Would she need to hold that scent for the rest of her life? She tried to shake off the bad feeling but it wouldn’t go away.

Matthew wrapped his arms around her and dropped a kiss atop her head. “It will be fine. Write me letters while I am gone. Tell me everything you are doing, thinking, feeling. I don’t want to miss a moment. No detail is too small. Then I will read them all when I return.”

Lifting her face for a kiss she whispered, “If I have my way, you will be much too busy doing other things to read.” She pressed her lips to his, softening her firm frown for a light kiss that quickly deepened with their passion. Patty clung to Matthew, forcing the kiss to go on and on when he might have pulled away. She had an awful feeling this kiss would be their last.

It was getting late. The crowd was thinning and she knew that Jonathan would step to the table shortly to notify them they had ten more minutes. The bouncer had taken to giving them a warning after he embarrassed them and himself by interrupting a particularly heavy petting session one evening not long ago. She still blushed at the memory when she came into the club each week.

If her premonition was correct, Patty had only a few more minutes to build a lifetime of memories. Fighting back the tears that threatened again, she held fast to Matthew’s hand, peppering his face with small kisses, whispering “I love you” and just staring at him. She was engraving his image on her brain, accompanied by the feel of his biceps under her fingertips, the scent of his shirt – sweat and man – and his hair, which smelled of a gel she wished she could buy and save for when he was gone.

She hung on every word, on the low timbre of his voice, hard to hear over the last of the music. “Sentimental Journey” would be their last song and she knew that it would make her cry every time she heard it after tonight. She ran her hands over his shoulders, down his arms, drew lazy circles on the backs on his strong hands. She touched his cheek, resting her hand there and then kissed him again, pouring all her emotion into that one kiss. She communicated her desire, hot and close to the surface, and an enduring love that shimmered and glowed in her.

He pulled away from the kiss reluctantly. She saw that he finally understood her desperation. She could see the fear in his brown eyes mirroring her own.

Jonathan arrived, he had missed his ten minute warning and they were out of time. “Sorry Mathew. Sorry, Patty. You two have to go now.” He moved his large body away on silent feet and left the lovers alone for one more minute.

They slid from the booth and Matthew handed Patty her cardigan sweater, wrapping it gently around her shoulders, moving her hair aside to place a soft kiss on her neck. She turned in his arms and pressed hard against him. Her arms remained at her sides. She feared if she held him now she would never let go. The fear had grown to certainty. She knew she would never see him again.

“I’ll be back soon,” he told her one more time. “The time will fly by.”

“I’ll wait, Matthew. I’ll wait forever.”

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Bear’s Edge, a Paranormal Romance from Christina Lynn Lambert

Christina Lynn Lambert is here today to share her paranormal romance, Bear’s Edge with us. Bear’s Edge is the second book in her Stranger Creatures series. Welcome Christina, I’m excited to hear more about your book. 

Bear’s Edge Blurb:

After sexy bear shifter Grant lost his girlfriend and three best friends in a fire, he decided he was done with love, done with people, done with pretty much everything. One woman has him rethinking his whole strategy.

As his boss, Shayla is off-limits, so Grant keeps his feelings for her under wraps until…the attraction doesn’t seem so one-sided. Grant takes a risk and lays a piece of his heart on the line. When things get hotter than he could have imagined, Grant wonders- will some of his darker desires be too much for Shayla or will she embrace the needs he’s kept hidden for so long?

A reporter who covered the bombing Shayla survived three years before is convinced the only reason Shayla survived is because she’s some type of bionic medical experiment or superhuman freak. When the reporter ropes Shayla’s angry ex, Hunter into the mix, Shayla’s business and her life are on the line. Can she and Grant trust in each other and find a way to slay all the obstacles that stand in their way?

No cliffhangers
Standalone
HEA

Excerpt from Bear’s Edge:

Grant the mystery man—a delicious mystery Shayla would like to unravel, piece by piece, layer by layer. Ah, but I can’t. I’m his boss. In a different lifetime, if we didn’t have the whole boss-employee obstacle going on… No harm in looking, though, just a little, since he sat so close. She promised herself to keep her thoughts G-rated—okay, maybe PG-13. Grant had a talent with numbers and paid attention to detail. Also, he was a little shy and standoffish to a lot of people when it came to anything other than work. Shayla wondered where he sometimes went in his head, because, every now and then, his smile wiped from his face, just for a second, before being replaced with one a little harder. None of my business, she reminded herself. 

Shayla had really wanted to hug Grant that morning after seeing him look so frustrated but decided that it might be wiser and more appropriate to show him that there were a few people on his side. Watching him break things and try to be all strong and humorous about it made Shayla want to unravel the Grant mystery even more. It kind of hurt to watch Grant pretending to be fine, but all Shayla could offer him was lunch and good conversation. Hopefully Mr. Strong and Silent—Sydney called him that sometimes, although never to his face—knew Shayla and Sydney cared. Shayla cared. Because he’s a friendJust a friend. 

Grant raised his soda in a toast. “To things not being worse,” he announced with a rueful half smile. “And, uh”—he cleared his throat—“to good company.” He nodded at Sydney, and when he met Shayla’s gaze, he held it. In Grant’s dark eyes she saw hunger, wide-open desire, and about a million other things she couldn’t puzzle out. They both looked away. Grant looked at her that way sometimes, and Shayla did her best to ignore it. Grant might have a small crush on her, or he could have a thing for petite, small-breasted girls possessing a great fashion sense. 

Sydney broke the silence. “To good food and even better friends.” She clinked Grant’s glass, and Shayla came back to reality and smiled, pretending she wasn’t experiencing several different kinds of inappropriate thoughts and feelings for a sexy, complicated man who was her employee and also her friend. She needed to remember that things could never go any further than a panty-melting look, and behave. 

Her phone buzzed. Grateful for the distraction, she dug it out of her purse to see a text message and call-back number from that pest of a reporter back in Maryland. That pain in the ass wanted another interview with Shayla. Like once in the hospital and once for a “where are the survivors now” follow-up a few months later hadn’t been enough. May as well take care of this before it becomes twenty voice mails piled in my in-box. 

“I’ll just be a moment,” she promised Sydney and Grant. If that harpy journalist wanted an interview, it would be her last one with Shayla, and it would cost the reporter. Big-time. She walked outside into the cold and wind. 

Social media links for author Christina Lynn Lambert:

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I’ve Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good

Welcome back to “Our Love is Here to Stay”. I hope you are enjoying the story of Patty and Matthew. Now that we know their secret, how can they arrange to be together? Read on…

Need to start from the beginning? Use this link

chapter 5 serial romance

After two weeks out of town, Matthew was anxious to see Patty again. He appreciated the irony of feeling desperate. Usually he was thrilled for an opportunity to return to California, but when you can see the woman you love for only four hours a week, every minute with her matters.

The woman he loved. He admitted that to himself months ago. It hadn’t been hard to fess up. He counted the days and hours until he could see her each week and thought about her constantly. He saved up anecdotes and stories from their days apart, longing to share them with Patty, to see her reactions, to hear her stories in return.

Matthew couldn’t rein in his emotions. He found himself bragging about her with colleagues and friends.“ You would love her,” he might say. “Patty is the perfect combination of smarts and sex appeal.”

“Great,” his friends would respond, “when can we meet her?” Matthew would mumble a lame excuse and realize again that he should not mention Patty. Once, he caught himself starting to repeat a tale she had shared, one that had made him laugh and laugh, only to realize that it would make no sense to his friends. They would wonder if he had lost his marbles, discussing a secretary whose typewriter had jammed.

Only weeks ago, he too would have believed he was crazy. Sometimes he still questioned his sanity in the wee hours of the morning, laying awake, thinking of Patty. But she was very real to him, and so was his love for her.

time travel romance “She completely believes in me,” he told Jonah while he was home. “She is certain our business will be a success in no time. I love how supportive she is,” Matthew gushed, failing to add that Patty couldn’t follow a thing he said when he described his job. He couldn’t confide that information to Jonah. Even his own brother would think he was delusional. He bit his tongue, preventing himself from blurting out his next thought. How could a woman who took shorthand and used a typewriter understand computers let alone the industry that would spring up to prevent hackers from succeeding?

“I can’t wait to meet this paragon,” Jonah responded. “Bring her along with you next time you come home. But in the interim, can you please try to focus on the business. The meeting with those VC guys is in less than a week and we need our ducks in a row if we want their money.”

“Sorry.” Matthew tried to concentrate on the details of the start-up, knowing that this presentation was make it or break it for the brothers. Still, he would catch himself searching for emails and text messages from a woman who would be over sixty before they became ubiquitous.

Phone calls, text messaging, email. He had struggled to explain all of these to Patty. They laughed when she finally admitted that her understanding of security; when he first described his job, had been to envision guards and guns.

The couple had advanced since those first days, when the wonder and disbelief of their time warp was all consuming. Now they almost took it for granted. They would cling to each other for the first five minutes, grateful to find each other at The Green Mill for another week, always fearful that the magic would end. Then, they would slip into a comfortable routine with each other, as if they had been a couple for years.

Matthew spent his free nights at the library, researching Chicago in the 1950s, the culture, the politics, technology – such as it was. He wanted to understand Patty’s world, to speak her language, and relate to the immediacy of her days. He would ask about the movies that were opening around town, what she thought of a new song or band.

“I don’t want to talk about them now.” She dismissed his questions repeatedly, begging like a spoiled child for more information about the future.

“It’s a big responsibility, Patty, sharing the future with you.” Matthew was teasing the first time he told her that, but he came to fear that he might alter the future if he revealed too much. While he might give her useful information, he might also cause her to change her behavior, not be at The Green Mill that one magic February night, never meet him. He didn’t want to risk that.

From his constant research at the library, Matthew was on a first name basis with many of the staff at the Harold Washington Library. They offered him old magazines and newspapers, books on Chicago history. Matthew devoured every article, but tempted as he was, he resisted looking up anything specific regarding Patty’s future. Fortunately for him, there was plenty to share without those details.

Patty hung on his every word, asked probing questions, especially about the women’s movement, which had caught her imagination. “Tell me more,” she begged. “About the bra-burning and the summer of love. I can’t believe women are going to rebel. It’s inconceivable when we are so grateful to be working at all. How can everything change so fast?”

“What do you want to know now?” Matthew would indulge her, answering some questions in encyclopedic detail, admitting ignorance in others. She had asked about fashions, for example, garnering a laugh from her partner. “I have no idea. I guess everyone wears jeans.”

“Dungarees?”

“Levis. And designer jeans. They wear them for everything, men and women.”

“You must be wrong about that,” she scolded, leaning close to his face to ascertain if he might be lying. “What designer in their right mind would design dungarees? And who would wear them for anything other than gardening or hard labor? That would be disrespectful.”

“I swear,” he told her, crossing his heart with his index finger in a gesture that was common to their conversations. “And trainers.”

Once she understood what ‘trainers’ were – Keds was the common link – she got excited. “Comfortable shoes and no garter belts or girdles? That will be amazing. Soon, right? That happens soon?” He assured her that it was coming, then crushed her joy by confessing that stilettos were also still in style.

Matthew wasn’t certain if she studiously avoided questions about herself, or if she understood that he was reluctant to answer them. Eventually she did begin asking him specific questions about his life in the future.

Their Thursday’s fell into a routine, that was anything but. He would step into The Green Mill early, when it was still quiet and attendance was sparse. Patty might already be waiting, in a booth as far from the music as possible. Initially he slid in across from her, staring into her lovely face, captured in her sky-blue gaze. Now they beside each other, holding hands, touching from shoulder to knee, craving more.

Around 8:30 she would suggest they dance a bit, a better method for touching and holding each other. The band leader knew to play a few extra slow tunes like ““Stardust” and “Begin the Beguine”. but Matthew’s swing moves had improved dramatically, he could Lindy Hop like a pro. They stayed on the floor non-stop for about an hour, then return to their booth, breathless and laughing, where she would pick his brain some more.

“I know you’re holding back” Patty whined, her pouty lower lip completely captivating him. “Tell me more about your life now.” Her face was alight with excitement, an apt pupil, paying careful attention and digging for details on every subject. Especially about him.

Matthew and Patty had established their own language . “Soon” meant in the next twenty years, the time when she would still be young enough to enjoy the things he could only describe from his research. , He would not yet be born. Wrapping their heads around that concept had been challenging.

“I can only tell you what I’ve read,” he would admit to her, voice rising in the frustration of repetition. “I’ve explained that to you before. I am not born until the 1980’s, remember?”

“I’m not an idiot, Matthew. You don’t have to shout,” she would scold in return. “You have to concede, this is a tough topic to understand – to wrap my head around, as you like to say.” She loved using phrases that weren’t popular yet. These phrases were slipping into her everyday conversation, by mistake at first, now more conscientiously. “I tell my friends that they are California slang,” she confessed to him. “It makes them think I’m neat.”

Patty was incessantly curious, battering him with questions about small things and large. When he told her about the Korean War, she struggled to hide her tears in such a public place. “Not another war,” she had all but shouted. “When? Will my friends all have to fight, or their sons?” Her tears increased when he shared the future bloody incursions, Viet Nam and Afghanistan, with their less successful outcomes, until she needed to excuse herself to hide in the bathroom while she regained her composure, and covered her very pink, runny nose.

She had cried again when he told her the assassination of President Kennedy. “Is all the news bad? Can’t you share something better with me? Is the world heading for disaster?”

“Sorry.” Matthew stopped sharing big political events like these and focused instead on cultural events. She was an avid absorber of anything to do with fashion – his weak spot – but they found common excitement in upcoming movies and Patty was wowed by the future of television. Matthew tried explaining Netflix and other companies streaming movies but it proved a concept too far in the future for her to grasp. She loved his descriptions and his sketches of the tall buildings that would make Chicago architecture famous.

She oohed and ahhed a lot. She slapped his shoulder and threw her head back with laughter, calling him a liar when he told her everyone would carry a computer in their pockets. He wanted desperately to show her his phone, which – surprise – had not been invented. He explained GPS and a contacts list, closing the gap from their first two meetings.

Patty asked about music, books and films. She was astonished by the future of television and came back to the subject repeatedly. “I’ll own a television?” she asked in awe, “What on earth will I watch on it?” Matthew told her about “Gunsmoke” and “The Ed Sullivan Show”, both of which he had learned about from library videos. She hugged him when he sang “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” never complaining about his inability to carry a tune. He tried to bring her reviews of programs, or plays, and of course copies of fashions from magazines, but they would mysteriously disappear from his pockets when he entered the club, then miraculously reappear when he stepped back outside.

“I keep forgetting,” he confessed to her, his hands gesturing in front of his face in frustration, ”that if it doesn’t exist now, I can’t share it with you.”

“I can’t wait for the future,” she would tell him, “and I appreciate your attempt to bring me pictures. But I love your stories, I love hearing you describe what‘s going to come. And your sketches are wonderful.” The passion in her expression, drew him toward her until, a few weeks ago, he ignored the surroundings and pulled her close for a kiss.

He had been tentative at first, moving slowly and gently to close his mouth over hers. He watched her eyes flutter shut, felt her breasts pillow against his chest, inhaled her hint of floral scent and deepened the kiss, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and pulling her tighter. The small connection swelled his heart in a way no other kiss ever had.

Patty fluttered like a moth for a brief moment and Matthew prepared to release her. Then she sighed and leaned in further, wrapping her hands low behind his back and skooching on the vinyl seat to sit closer to him.

That was all the encouragement Matthew needed. Ignoring the crowd, his concern for her 1950’s reputation, all the things that had held him back until that moment, Matthew probed her lips with his tongue, encouraging her to open them to his exploration. She pulled back to look into his eyes, looking bewildered but interested. Her lips were moist from his kiss, and her eyes were smoky with desire.

“It’s okay,” Matthew reassured her. “It’s a French kiss. You’ll like it.”

She must have believed him, because she, rather swiftly, closed her eyes, leaned into him and pressed her mouth gently against his. This time when his tongue probed her lips she opened them slightly, allowing him to explore the warm, sensuous space. He wrapped his tongue about hers to encourage her to engage with him and soon their tongues were tangling in an excellent imitation of lovemaking.

Matthew’s hands moved of their own volition up and down Patty’s back, the fingers of his large hands grazing her hips, ribs and the slope of a breast under her arm. She didn’t stop him, pushing her body tight against his, moaning slightly and moving her own hands, now wrapped around his neck. He loved the feel of her cool fingers against his skin, the slight tug from her fingers buried in his hair. He was wrapped in Patty and time be damned, she was the woman he wanted.

From that moment, their kisses, their groping and their conversation became those of lovers building a future together. They would talk, dance and make out until the bouncer would tell them it was closing time, which he did with increasing sympathy. The couple was now well known around the club, and if the women found Patty’s behavior scandalous, they kept their gossip to themselves.

“Are you worried about your reputation?” he asked her one night with a sheepish expression.

“It’s a bit late to be asking, wouldn’t you say?” she queried with a laugh. Matthew caught the concern in her beautiful blue eyes but before he could answer, or apologize, she continued. “I should be, but this is such a miracle. You could disappear as quickly as you appeared. I want to experience everything while I can.”

Matthew shook his head vigorously in agreement. “I know. I worry about that too.”

Her smile drooped and she broke eye contact. Putting a finger under her chin to lose himself in her crystal eyes, Matthew saw Patty’s concerns broadcast in her open expression so he set out to reassure them both. “I’m here now and I have no plans to go anywhere. My project has months to go. I will be here, Patty. I will be here for you.”

“How can you promise what you can’t control?” The lyrics of “One for my Baby” being sung by the bandleader in a melancholy, clear tenor, echoed their sentiments. The couple sat silent, contemplative, holding fast to each other’s hands as if to defeat time.

Would you want to live in 2017 or have me live in 1950? Time Travel Romance chapter 5 at www.madisonmichael.net/serial-romance-chapter-five Click To Tweet

They had come a long way as a couple. In the beginning Matthew had focused their conversations almost entirely on how their times were different and how they were different. It was as if he was trying to push her away, even as he clung to the hope that she would be there each Thursday. Slowly, she broke through his reticence, with her sweet temperament, her lively wit, and her clear admiration for him. Soon, he was focusing on the ways in which they were similar, the activities, attitudes and traits that held them together.

She told stories about her siblings, three of them, the oldest ten years older, the youngest just two years her junior. She was close with them both, and admitted following her older sister everywhere as she grew up. He in turn shared stories of growing up with Jonah and his plans to go into business with him. Patty was his greatest supporter in the venture, boosting his confidence in the most illogical way.

Patty was devoted to her family. “It was soul-wrenching for them when I moved into my own apartment,” she admitted. “But I wanted it so badly, and I was twenty-one and still unmarried so they finally gave in.”

Matthew praised her independence, sensing how important it was to her, admitting how much he longed to see her apartment and pick her up for a date there.

He laughed at her notion of being a spinster. While many of her friends had married fresh out of high school, his stories helped Patty see that single at 21 would not be the end of the world. “Look at all the opportunities ahead for you, Patty. Marriage is just one option. You can be a lawyer, a doctor, a pilot, anything you want.”

“I know – how swell is that?” Her voice was wistful.

“But…?”

“I wish we could be together, and have a family. Do you even want a family?”

“Someday,” he echoed her longing. Rather than allow them to wallow in pity, he shifted the dialog. “ In the twenty-first century, Patty, many couples wait until they are in their 30’s to have children.”

Patty had been astonished, but surprisingly reassured by that idea. “Maybe by the time I am 30 we can figure out how to make this work,” she said wistfully, her gesture encompassing the two of them.

“Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that,” he lied. “Would you want to live in 2017 or have me live in 1950?” Matthew had a moment considering how ludicrous this conversation was. First, he was time traveling. Time traveling! He often wondered if he would wake up from this dream one day soon and laugh at the ridiculousness of believing it had been real. Second, they barely knew each other. In the real world, as he now referred to the other days of the week, he would not be talking with a woman about being together this soon in a relationship. This conversation should be absurd, but it just felt right.

“I suppose it would be easier for me if you come to my time,” she pondered, her unlined brow furrowed with concentration. “But your time sounds so much more exciting. Scary, but really exciting.”

“Scary?”

“More options, more choices, more to learn. All of that makes for too many opportunities to make the wrong choice, to not be able to keep up or succeed. What if you thought I was stupid?”

“I couldn’t never think you were stupid,” Matthew placed a quick kiss on the tip of her upturned nose. “I think you’re adorable. I think that you are Independent and feisty, smart and curious as hel…heck. You are a dichotomy, a fascinating combination of working woman and daddy’s girl.”

“Is that an insult,” she attacked, a childish pout pushing out her lower lip in an expression he had come to know and adore.

“A compliment, Patty. I love these things about you.” She blushed at the words causing him to add “And I love how easily you blush.”

He kissed her again and again after that conversation, whispering to her. “I think your perfect” or “I wish you could be like this always”.

“I love you,” she confessed in a husky whisper, causing his heart to stop beating in his chest. It was one thing to know he would break his own heart one day, another to realize this situation would also break hers. He stared at this beautiful woman, her lips cherry red from his kisses, passion clouding her pale eyes, and was speechless, overcome with desire and depression.

“I love you,” she repeated in a stronger voice.

“I love you, Patty, and I am going to find a way to be with you, always.” Matthew wanted to believe the words, but felt the lie like ice coursing through his veins. How could they be together? How could he extend this miracle into a life?

“I’ll wait, Matthew, for as long as it takes.” Her face was alight with adoration, her heart open to his. He didn’t dare break it.

His heart beat like it would explode with want. “I’ll find a way,” he repeated the lie. Matthew knew with a sinking realization that it would likely take forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Risking Her Heart, a romantic suspense from Laura Haley-McNeil

I am so excited to have Laura Haley-McNeil join us today. She is here to tell us more about Risking Her Heart. It sounds like a great book. I’m anxious to hear more.

About Risking Her Heart:

A novel of suspense, revenge and a love so deep that it can only be released through forgiveness.

Hollywood producer Trent Parker has one goal – to own the film option for the breakout novel Sunset in Maui. His problem? Actress turned producer Charisse Whitloch. She’ll do anything to produce the film. Trent can stop her, but not without getting close to her, a bond he can’t risk.

Charisse has found the film project that will prove she’s her own woman – not her father’s daughter. One person stands in her way – Trent Parker. She’s faced opposition before, but she isn’t prepared for Trent. Her charisma has softened Hollywood’s hardest hearts, but is she a match for Trent’s heart of stone?

Trent’s defenses against Charisse crumble – loving her will heal the darkness in his soul and open the door to a secret he buried long ago. When Charisse is threatened, she and Trent face her adversaries. They piece together a plot more sinister than any Hollywood movie, but the key to their survival lies in Trent’s past – the key that will lead to Trent’s destruction.

Want more romantic suspense? Download a free short story: laurahaleymcneil.com.

If you want romance and suspense, download a sample or buy Risking Her Heart now.

Risking Her Heart Buy Links:

Excerpt from Risking Her Heart:

An email popped into her inbox.

Trent Parker.

Her chest constricted. She could barely breathe. Her heart did one of those snare drum rat-a-tat-tats. The pounding felt as if it would break through her chest.

She held her finger over Trent’s email. It trembled enough to embarrass her.

This was ridiculous. She wasn’t afraid of Trent Parker. She touched the email.

To: Charisse Whitloch

From: Trent Parker

Subject: Sunset in Maui

“Like your lawyer said, the option to Sunset in Maui is mine. Save yourself the courtroom drama and back out of the negotiations. Enjoy producing films while it lasts. Within three months, most production companies fail.”

T

Charisse dropped the phone to her lap. “Fail.”

The words were a punch to the soft spot below her sternum. She grabbed the armrest. Her chest heaved and seemed to drag every air molecule in the car into her lungs.

The Crystal Creek Series:

Guarding Her Heart is the 1st book in the Crystal Creek Series

Crystal Creek Christmas Book #2

A Ring Around Her Heart #3

Steeling Her Heart #4

Risking Her Heart #5

Crystal Creek Boxed Set Books 1 – 3

About the Author: 

Laura Haley-McNeil is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and women’s fiction in novel length and in short stories. Her work has been featured in several women’s magazines. She has studied piano and ballet and has been a board member for two community orchestras. She and her husband reside in Colorado. When she isn’t writing, she jogs, bicycles and crochets.

Laura Haley-McNeil Contact Links:

 

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“Where or When”? Here and Now!

Still reading my first serial romance? This chapter marks the halfway point in our story, Our Love is Here to Stay. If you need to go back and start at the beginning, go here.  Otherwise, read on.  

Where or When serial romance

After weeks of missed connections, this was getting old. Not to mention confusing. Very confusing. This was the fourth Swing Night Thursday that found Matthew and Patty huddled in a corner of The Green Mill trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

His confusion was clearly real, so she no longer doubted his sincerity, and his knowledge of the city was good enough that she couldn’t blame his absence four consecutive Saturday nights on an inability to find her apartment. Besides, after the third week of the problem, they had agreed to meet at Miller’s Pub instead. The Wabash establishment was well known to them both, which should have eliminated any problems.

“I was there, I swear I was,” Matthew told her now, sounding like a broken record. “Right at 7:30, the agreed upon time. And I called again to confirm but that new phone number you gave me is no better than the first. Both are still out of order.

“But I called that number yesterday and it was working just fine,” Patty argued. “And I was in the very front booth at Millers’. Sure, it was crowded, but I couldn’t have missed seeing you arrive. This just doesn’t make any sense.”

where or when

Photo credit: trevillion.com

She sat pondering the problem in silence. She wanted to get to know him better, to talk together without shouting over the band. She couldn’t explain this problem and she knew he was telling the truth about being there – she could read it in his open, honest expression. She could feel the frustration in his increasing need to touch her hand or her hair. She knew he wanted to kiss her, and she wanted to kiss him back. But not in such a public place

“I missed you,” Matthew told her in a whisper before the band struck up “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” to drown out his voice. His mouth, warm and close to her ear, sent a shiver up her spine. If she turned her head, his mouth would be just inches from hers, his lips could be resting on her cherry ones in just seconds. She could imagine them, firm and pressing against hers, fancy the feel of his arms pulling her closer.

She was wearing another new dress, bought with the money she’d been saving from her paychecks ever since she’d met him. She had picked this one, a lovely blue floral better suited to warmer weather, specifically to enhance the blue of her eyes. She knew Matthew loved her eyes. He spoke to her repeatedly about their unusual color and their hypnotic effect on him. She had worn the dress for dinner Saturday night, but there was no reason not to wear it again. He hadn’t seen it the first time.

I missed you, too,” she told him, speaking to the air instead of turning into that imagined kiss. She had longed to be with him, thought about him when she should have been thinking about work or paying attention to her family during Sunday dinner. She felt closer to this handsome stranger after spending less than twenty hours with him than she had to anyone before. He made her heart leap in her chest when she spied his handsome visage above the crowd each week, relieved to discover he had not returned to California in the intervening days

“We need a solution to this problem,” he was telling her now. “I am pretty good at solving problems, I do it at work every day, but I can’t figure out what is wrong, so I can’t figure out how to fix it.” A scowl furrowed between his brows, puzzling over the problem. “I have no clue what I am missing..

“Or me,” Patty offered. “Maybe I am messing up somehow.”

“I am sick of shouting over the music,” Matthew told her, grabbing her hand and leading her toward the door. He stopped at the coat check and handed the chits to the young woman for both of their coats. He shrugged his on, helped Patty into hers and dropped a dollar in the brandy snifter for tips, earning him a dazzling smile from the girl

“I’ll keep you warm,” he said, his husky voice insinuating more as he buttoned the top button on Patty’s wool coat. He pulled up her collar and wrapped his wool scarf around her neck. “But I need five minutes of quiet and privacy with you.”

Patty happily allowed him to drag her along to the door. She had waited long enough to kiss Matthew, had thought of little more since the first time she met him, and wanted the same five minutes he did. She took hold of his gloved hand and weaved her way to the door, nodding to the bouncer as she stepped outside.

Somehow Matthew had lost hold of her gloved fingers as they moved through the door and when she stepped outside he was nowhere to be seen. She looked to her right and left, waited a full minute for him to catch up with her, then stepped back through the door. The warmth assailed her, along with the hot sounds of “Route 66” but there was no sign of Matthew. She caught a few warm breaths, looked around carefully and stepped into the cold again. Still no Matthew.

Beginning to shiver with the cold, wishing she had worn warm boots instead of her new spectator pumps, Patty gave up waiting after another two minutes and stepped back into the warmth. There was Matthew, chatting with the coat check girl and shrugging out of his coat. Had he been standing there the entire time?

“What happened to you? Have you been standing here all this time?” Patty tried not to appear irritated, She could sense the girl was attracted to Matthew and worried that Matthew might return her interest. The girl was displaying too much cleavage for Patty’s peace of mind as she leaned over the divided door eavesdropping. Patty grabbed Matthew’s arm and pulled him away from the coat closet

“I thought we were going outside,” she continued exasperated. “Where were you?”

“I was outside,” he bit back, equally exasperated. “What happened to you? You were holding my hand one second, then you let go and disappeared.

“Matthew, I disappeared outside. I went right out the door but you were gone. I came back in but didn’t see you and then I went out again, only to come in and find you flirting with that girl.” Patty nodded her head in the direction of the coat check area, not bothering to restrain the jealousy in her voice.

“Flirting? Why would I be flirting? I was asking her if she had seen you. I went out, couldn’t find you anywhere, so I came in and asked her where you’d gone.

“You were outside? Right outside?”

“Right outside,” Matthew confirmed.

“But I was standing right there, just outside the door. There was no way you wouldn’t have seen me. Did you go around the corner?”

“Only when I couldn’t find you,” he explained. “And then only for a second.This makes absolutely no sense. We are going to hold hands. We are going to go outside and talk, and I am going to kiss you. Right now. Any objections?” Matthew donned his coat once more and offered Patty a mischievous grin full of promise.

“None whatsoever, Matthew.” Patty flashed him a brilliant smile. Her luminous eyes twinkled as she wrapped her fingers in his gloved hand. “Lead on, sir.”

Matthew took the ten steps to the door ahead of Patty. She stayed close to his side and held tight to his hand. He opened the door, stepped through, and was gone. Totally gone. She could no longer see him, no longer feel him. Her hand was empty and so was the street. A light snow had started falling, illuminated in The Green Mill sign, but there was no sign of Matthew.

Patty stepped further out and then back into the club. One minute later – maybe less ­– Matthew came through the door toward her, shaking snow off his coat. How could he have been outside without her seeing him?

“OK, you let go of me again,” he began. She was furiously shaking her head at him. She felt like the floor had dropped out beneath her, or perhaps only her stomach

“I didn’t, I swear. Let’s go out again, but I’ll go first this time, okay? You follow me.” He nodded his acquiescence and she pushed open the door, stepping once again into the snowy night. Matthew should have been right behind her, but when the door closed on the club she was standing outside alone.

She opened the door to step back in to find Matthew standing there looking as if he had seen a ghost. Perhaps he was a ghost. She didn’t know what to think. He grabbed her hand and pulled her out the door again. Same thing. She was standing on the sidewalk but he was no where to be seen. She pulled open the door and saw him standing just inside. He stepped out and she stayed inside, peeking out onto the empty sidewalk. Matthew was not there.

Finally, after repeating this baffling activity several times, Igor told them to make up their minds, “In or out,” he shouted. Matthew undid his coat buttons, looking to Patty as if he were in a trance. She knew she was, there was no logical explanation but that. She handed him her coat, he threw them over a barstool and dropped into the empty seat beside it as if his legs would no longer hold him. He pulled her to stand between his thighs and touched her hair reverently.

“You are real, right? You are flesh and blood, not an apparition?” Free romance in serial form www.madisonmichael.net/new-serial-romance #romance #timetravel Click To Tweet

“You are real, right? You are flesh and blood, not an apparition?”

“Of course I am real. Are you? You completely disappeared as soon as I was outside.

“You did the same.”

“I know,” she nodded. He kept touching her, lightly grazing his fingers across her cheek, running a hand over her sleek hair, damp from the snow. He brushed his fingers back and forth over her hand. She looked down at his hand stroking hers and he stopped abruptly.

“Sorry. I am just reassuring myself you are here.”

“I’m here. Are you? What’s happening?” She looked about the room but everything looked normal. Her friends were across the way arguing about something, or out on the dance floor, feet flying though the steps of a jitterbug.

“There has to be an explanation,” he said as much to convince himself as her. “You are Patty Dennison.” She nodded yes. “I am Matthew Herrington.” She nodded again. “It’s Swing Night at The Green Mill.” Again she agreed. “Thursday, February 26, 2015.”

Patty started to nod automatically before her jaw went slack and her mouth dropped open. A sick feeling sank into her stomach and her mouth went dry. “Say that again,” she told Matthew, struggling to get the words out.

“It’s Swing Night at The Green Mill or the date?”

“The date,” Patty whispered hoarsely. She held her breath as the answer came, her happiness, and perhaps her sanity, hanging in the balance.

“Thursday, February 26, 2015.”

Patty felt herself losing control, swaying on her feet but could do nothing to stop it. Something in her face must have alarmed Matthew because he took hold of her upper arms with some muscle and pressed her, “What? What is it, Patty? What the hell is wrong? Are you sick?”

She needed to sit down. She needed to undo the last month of her life, go back to a time when this man didn’t turn her world upside down. When her heart was her own, and not his. When things were normal.

“I must be sick,” she spoke slowly as if to a child, “because I swear I just heard you say it’s 2015 when anyone here can tell you it’s…

How could she make sense of something that made absolutely no sense? Serial Romance 'Our Love is Here to Stay' Chapter Four. www.madisonmichael.net/where-or-when #timetravel #romance Click To Tweet

How could she tell him this without accusing him of being insane? Of them both being insane perhaps? How could she make sense of something that made absolutely no sense?

“It’s what, Patty? Tell me,” he was shaking her lightly now, bringing her back to her senses. Better to get this over with. Then she could figure out how to get away from this lovely man who was obviously insane. She would forget him in time.

“Matthew. It is Swing Night and this is Thursday. But it’s not – what did you say? 2015. It’s 1950, Matthew. It’s Thursday February 23,1950.” A tear slid from her eye as she watched shock register on Matthew’s face and she felt her opportunity for true love slip away.

 

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A Gift for Writers and Bloggers: My Best of 2017

Madison Michael's Best of 2017

It’s been a long year for me. Not in time, which flew by, but in learning, growing and discovery. During my journey, some experts, writers and lessons really stood out to me. My Christmas gifts to you are these – the best experts, best writers, best advice and best lessons I have learned in the last twelve months. They have become my ‘best of 2017’ and I am delighted to share them with you.

Best Blogging Advice

This one crept in right at the end of the year. Jane Friedman, in her recent weekly digest from JaneFriedman.com, snuck in her link to a blog post titled How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors . I have read numerous posts on the subject, but none better than this. Jane shares the pros and cons for an author to blog at all, her own personal experience trying to grow her audience, and a straightforward list of tasks to complete to succeed.

If you are looking for a more detailed education for blogging, Sarah Morgan’s Dare to Blog course, available from her xosarah.com website contains everything you need to know, including technology assistance. Her lessons are short but thorough, plain spoken, and easy to understand.

Best Writing Advice

Hands down the best writing advice comes from Kathy Steinemann at her website www.kathysteinemann.com. Sign up for her email to receive one or two emails per month with sage advice on the proper use of common phrases or to learn dozens of new – and frankly much better – replacements for crutch words. Her writing and grammar lessons are a joy to behold.

Best Planning Advice

For me, 2017 was a tough year in terms of making a plans and sticking to them. Two wise women could have saved me a lot of heartache and mistakes, if I had discovered them earlier in in the year.

The first is Meera Kothand, author of Create: A One Year Blog and Editorial Calendar. Had I acquired it sooner, Meera’s workbook, and advice via email, would have kept me focused on what really mattered to my writing. With simple, but focused suggestions, and lots of whitespace to work through ideas, Meera helped me get a better handle on my output.

Meera did me one more favor. She introduced me to Emily McGee of My Adaptable Career, whose ‘Master Time Management’ class, was a short and sweet lesson in improving my productivity. Click To Tweet

Meera did me one more favor. She introduced me to Emily McGee of My Adaptable Career, whose ‘Master Time Management’ class, was a short and sweet lesson in improving my productivityI bought the planner she suggested and I am already ahead of the game for 2018 in ways I would never have imagined possible.

Best Growth Advice

Despite the face that I discovered him in 2016, not 2017, I have to give kudos to Nick Stephenson and his “First 10K Readers” program. I fought myself over investing in this program until this year, but the comprehensive advice, delivered in a huge package of helpful videos has been the masterpiece he promised. Start with the three free advice packed videos and he will be make your best of list in 2018.

Best Promotion Advice

I clipped a lot of blog posts about launches this year, but I believe my favorite, my best of 2017 was the Organized Book Launch by Katie Mazzocco. Katie has thought of everything – and I mean everything – you need to consider when launching a book, organized it into a meaningful and useful checklist so that an author can pick and choose from her extensive list. Check out all of Katie’s tips at Full Spectrum Productivity.

Jim Edwards and Jeff Herring created their Automatic Marketing Wizard that drips campaign advice on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in activity segments that are manageable, and therefore doable. Click To Tweet

Also, I discovered a great technology product to help me make sure I cover all my promotion bases. Jim Edwards and Jeff Herring created their Automatic Marketing Wizard that drips campaign advice on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in activity segments that are manageable, and therefore doable. Even better, their advice is designed to break the boredom factor of doing the same online and social media promoting over and over. Watch for me to get more adventurous, thanks to their tool.

Best Tools and Tech

I have been using Mailchimp to send my emails and bonus materials since the day I set up my website, but this year they added functionality that boosted them to my ‘Best of 2017’ list. Mailchimp is free until you are emailing 1000 people making it a terrific bargain for a struggling author. Despite the no-cost factor, this year they added automation for free that they previously charged $10 month to access. Making this functionality free saved me a bundle and I was thrilled.

Then in December, they added landing pages too, allowing me to drop other costly landing page options. For you novices, a landing page is a page with nothing but a signup option on it – no distractions to keep you from downloading my free book for example. And automation? That is a sequence of emails that are sent automatically when you sign up for my email list for example – thank you, confirmation of your signup, here’s your bonus. Those three might be a sequence of emails that would be automated. This is a big deal!

Best overall Discovery

I am not sure how I stumbled upon One Woman Shop and their extraordinary bundle of goodies, but it was a godsend. First of all, because this talented group of women each sent me sage advice that will last me a lifetime, but mostly because I felt surrounded by women entrepreneurs – solopreneurs – who had survived the test of fire I was still navigating. Here was a group of strangers telling me ‘you can do it’ and we are here to help. I am still learning from their emails and revisiting their bundle to learn more from their “Solopreneur Sanity Handbook”. Are you a one-person business? If so, check them out at http://www.onewomanshop.com

Best Advice learned the Hard Way

This one’s from me, learned the hard and expensive way. Don’t buy technology until you completely understand what it does.

I spent so much money in 2017 on duplicate software products and apps. I have two that deliver my bonus content, three that create landing pages, multiple apps to manage Twitter, Facebook and now Pinterest. I even have two that put those social share buttons on my website! Some are free, but many were not and now I am paying through 2018 for products I don’t want or need.

I have often repeated here in my blog that I have shiny object syndrome. This year it caught up with me and I have the bills to prove it. Just as I am getting a handle on the writing, the marketing is torturing me.

OOH, I think I just figured out my New Year’s Resolution. Don’t buy technology you don’t need. Sounds obvious, but I did it repeatedly in 2017 and I resolve not to do that again in 2018.

Do you have a productivity, sanity or savings resolution to share?

 

 

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Is it Missed Connections? Read on to Find Out

Today we continue the serial romance Our Love is Here to Stay, set in the big band era at the famous Jazz club, The Green Mill in Chicago.

Here is the third installment of eight. If you missed the first two chapters, links to them are at the end of today’s post.

Now let’s follow Patty and Matthew’s story. I hope you enjoy..

Serial Romance Chapter 3

Matthew was fuming with fury when he paid his cover and entered The Green Mill the following Thursday. He had been stewing in anger all week, his frustration building each time he remembered Saturday night. Noticeably distracted, he had been curt with superiors and rude to colleagues, so much so that someone finally called him on it. After that, Matthew had been forced to rein in his ire, allowing it to simmer under the surface until now. He was spoiling for a fight.

The heavy falling snow left him cold, wet and miserable. He felt almost local tonight, braving the elements. His California sensibilities battled with his anger, trying to convince him to stay inside and watch HBO, but Matthew was determined to confront Patty – if that was even her real name. He had stalled in the hotel room, acknowledging the appeal of staying in. He gave strong consideration to the idea of neither wasting his time, money, nor warm fingers and toes. After all, Matthew felt pretty certain she wouldn’t show up. But he was not absolutely sure, and so here he was.

During the entire trip to the club his alter ego reminded him of all the reasons to turn around and go home. Although she had told him she was a regular, it might have been one more lie. He had been completely fooled by her lively demeanor, open, innocent face and seemingly genuine smile. He was taken in by the way she paid attention to no one but him, leaning in close to hear his every word. He believed every story, every glance. He had been truly smitten. He had imagined her as the woman for whom he had waited all his life.

Thinking back, as he surveyed the room looking at the couples chatting near the dance floor, Matthew remembered Patty rebuffing his kiss last week. She had been subtle and gentle about it, but she had kept her distance. Despite the occasional toss of her head, she had not been flirtatious at all, just friendly. Had he misread her completely? Had he pushed too hard by asking her out that quickly? Remembering last Saturday night he believed he must have.

Still, his confident side rebutted, Patty had appeared attentive and interested. She had spoken to no one but him or her girlfriends all night. He was sure she was sending out signals, and after years of dating, he knew a signal when he saw one. But then she stood him up and that was the biggest misread he had ever made. He had never been stood up before. Never.

Matthew knew he wouldn’t show his face if he had stood her up and so he had little expectation of seeing her tonight. Yet, here he was desperately scanning the crowd for the sight of that blonde ponytail and those enigmatic blue eyes.

He had called the number she gave him on Friday afternoon to confirm their date for Saturday but the number was not in service. It took three failed calls to be totally convinced. Then, not one to give up easily, Matthew Uber’ed to her apartment Saturday, right on time. Only one problem. There was no apartment building at that address. Instead, he found an H&R Block tax service and a veterinary clinic on the first floor with an orthodontist renting the second floor. Above that, garage space to the roof. The building was all glass and angles on the lower floors, certainly unable to conceal any apartments. Pacing the block, Matthew checked the napkin address repeatedly. It was smudged but legible. She had led him on.

Matthew’s anger and confusion were refueled by the memory. How dare she? Why would she lead him on like that? She could have easily said she wasn’t interested and gone on her way. He was from out of town and had told her so. They probably never would have seen each other again. It made no sense. A confused Matthew knew he was a good-looking, successful guy. These things just didn’t happen to him. His bewilderment gave way to his anger yet again.

Then he saw her. There she was, coming through the door with the same group of women from last week. Her hair was down, sleek and honey colored under the soft lighting, with a little bounce when she moved. She was scanning the room for something or someone. Could she be looking for him, perhaps to explain? Or apologize? Or maybe to evade his attentions?

Nope. Rather than avoiding him, she was striding straight for him, moving easily through the crowd, her face a cold mask of fury to rival his own. www.madisonmichael.net/chapter-three/ Click To Tweet

Nope. Rather than avoiding him, she was striding straight for him, moving easily through the crowd, her face a cold mask of fury to rival his own.

“What happened to you? I waited and waited. Did you think you were being clever? How could you be so cruel? I completely misjudged you.” Her face was infused pink as she fired every accusation she could think of toward him. Her aquamarine eyes were full of fury as her voice sputtered to a stop, out of words to hurl his way.

“You’re mad at me?” He repeated the words, incredulous at her nerve. “You’re mad at me? Where were you all week? I called the number you gave me – three times. The number was phony but you knew that when you gave it to me. Three times! Did that stop me? Noooo. I went to that bogus address you gave me right on time for our date Saturday. I paraded up and down that block like some damn fool. Does that make you happy? What kind of game are you playing, Patty? Is Patty even your real name?”

Matthew had worked himself up and all his anger spewed out until it burned itself out, replaced by vulnerability and hurt.

“Why’d you do this to me, Patty? Was it a prank? Did I do something to anger you? Who are you? What is your real name?”

“Technically it’s Patricia, but that’s beside the point. I don’t understand what you are saying. I waited for hours – hours. With no way to reach you, all I could do was wait. Susie told me to forget about you and go to see a film with her, but I stayed put. I trusted you. I believed you were coming.”

A tear glistened in the corner of those wondrous eyes. “I have never, ever been stood up before.” Matthew could see she was upset, a tear finally falling from the corner of those remarkable blue eyes. She sounded so sincere, as hurt as he felt. Was she telling the truth? He desperately wanted to believe her. There was something so unique about her – he wanted to know her better, build on the little they knew about each other. He wanted the Patty he met last week to be the true Patty, not the woman who had left him in the cold – literally.

“I was there. I swear, Patty. I was even five minutes early.” Matthew yanked the napkin from his pocket, ripping a well-worn corner in the progress. Shoving it under her upturned nose he attempted to keep the accusatory tone from his voice, but it crept in.

“I called this number and then I went here. It was offices and a garage. I searched the whole block. Nothing. I nearly froze my…” Matthew checked his slightly crude word. While Patty was undeniably sexy, she was also so sweet and lady-like. Her demeanor created a desire in him to be more of a gentleman – polite and good-mannered. He liked that she brought those qualities out in him.

Her look of astonishment as she looked from the napkin to his face was clearly real.“ But that is the right address. Are you positive this is where you were?”

“It can’t be right. This is exactly where I went. Are there two Carmen Streets in Chicago?”

“Not that I know of. This is so confusing. Are you sure you were at this address? Are you telling me the truth, Matthew?” She stared into his eyes as if to see into his soul, as if she could see the truth.

“I swear,” he responded, reflexively crossing his finger over his heart, earning her first true smile of the night. It lit her face and his anger dissipated like San Francisco fog on a sunny day. “Are you telling me the truth or are you trying to let me down easy?”

“Letting you down easy?” She seemed confused by the question, adding to his certainly that she didn’t mean to hurt him. “No, I don’t think that is what I was doing. I was really looking forward to our date. I was wearing a new dress and everything.” Her innocent enthusiasm touched him, softening the last little bit of hurt.

“I’m so sorry. I would have enjoyed seeing your new dress, and you. I really think we would have had fun, Patty. What do you think, shall we try again this Saturday? I can put the address in my GPS and I am sure that will work.”

“GPS?”

“Yeah, you know, I will program it in my phone.” Matthew reached for his mobile to add her address while Patty could verify everything. He ran his hands over his coat pockets and pants pockets, but the phone was gone. Panic must have shown on his face, and was quickly mirrored in hers.

“Did you lose something?” Patty began searching the dark floor nearby, scanning it carefully with her downcast eyes.

“My phone,” he mumbled, leaning down toward the floor for a better look but it was nowhere. “It had all my numbers in it. I am lost without it.”

“Ah, of course, your phonebook. I am lost without mine, too.” She looked a little baffled but continued, “I am so sorry about that. I can tell you are upset.”

She looked so sad and sweetly sympathetic and Matthew realized he was losing precious time with this adorable woman www.madisonmichael.net/chaper-three/ Click To Tweet

She looked so sad and sweetly sympathetic and Matthew realized he was losing precious time with this adorable woman searching for a phone that was probably in the pocket of the coat he checked upon entry.

“Yeah, it’s probably in another pocket. It’s a pain but it’s not worth wasting my evening on. I’ll retrace my steps later. I’d much rather concentrate on you.” He vowed to forget about his iPhone and flashed what he hoped was his most charming smile, lowering his voice seductively on the words.

“Matthew, I believe you are flirting with me,” she announced, pink suffusing her cheeks while the tip of her tongue moistened her lips. The move was innocent but so sexy he ached from it. This woman affected him as no one had before. Her childlike innocence, those unusually pale eyes, wide and trained on him, and that amazing body, unconsciously sexual and alluring, were a combination that made his heart race. He just wanted to touch her and hold her.

“I’m so glad you caught on, Miss Patricia,” he leaned a bit closer hoping to steal a quick kiss, his phone totally forgotten as he inhaled the scent of her. No luck.

“Ew, I hate being called Patricia,” she complained, taking his hand and pulling him across the room. “Just for that, you have to dance with me.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Matthew responded, happy to take Patty and her luscious curves in his arms.

“I hope you have been practicing,” she warned. “No stepping on toes.”

“I only stepped on you once or twice last week,” he defended. As they moved past the band leader he leaned over. “Please man, give me a break and play something slow.”

The band leader nodded his head in the affirmative, quickly finished “Sway” and spoke to his musicians. The mood shifted immediately and so did the group on the dance floor. The mismatched swing dancers quickly receded as men gathered their women close. Matthew was no different, loving the soft feel of Patty in his embrace, her head resting comfortably on his shoulder, her fingers nesting in his hair. She smelled of cold air and something light and floral. He never wanted to let go. He figured he had about two and a half minutes before ”I’ll Never Smile Again” would end and he would have to let go.

Matthew wondered if he could stretch two and a half minutes into forever. Free serial romance on my blog www.madisonmichael.net/chapter-three/ Click To Tweet

Matthew wondered if he could stretch two and a half minutes into forever.

Did you miss the first two installments? 

Our Love Is Here to Stay Chapter One

Our Love is Here to Stay Chapter Two

You Might Also Enjoy:

Outlander – Showtime Series on DVD or the Book by Diana Gabaldon

The Time Traveler’s Wife – The movie on DVD or the Book by Audrey Niffennegger

The Time Machine – The movie on DVD  or the Book by H.G Wells

 

 

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GRAY’S PROMISE, Steamy Romantic Suspense from Anni Fife #GiveAway

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Anni Fife! Welcome, Anni! I can not wait to hear more about your new release, GRAY’S PROMISE.

GRAY’S PROMISE

KING SECURITY BOOK 2 

by Anni Fife

When I started Gray’s Promise, my detailed planning was on track until I sat down to write. By the end of Chapter One, I realized Gray and Zoey’s journey to their happily ever after was going to be so painful and intense, and so darn beautiful, that a complicated suspense plot would only distract from their explosive relationship. Without hesitation, (but after two shots of Tequila), out went my intricate suspense plot to be replaced with an evil much closer to home. But this still wasn’t enough. I had to rework their physical relationship too because the sexual chemistry between Gray and Zoey might be incendiary as dynamite, but it’s also intricately linked to their long and unbreakable bond to each other. Complicated emotional factors (clear in the story when you read it) determined I delay the actual consummation between them. This presented a huge challenge because I had to find a way to make their sexual encounters smoking hot without them actually doing the deed until the final chapter of their story.

Yowza! The love scenes between Gray and Zoey have ended up being the hottest scenes I’ve ever written, most likely because the emotion between these two is intensely raw, but also because Gray is just that darn hot! 

I hope you enjoy the Blurb! And the Excerpt I’ve selected gives you just a hint of the intoxicating heat between Gray and Zoey.

Happy reading…Anni x

 About Gray’s Promise:

A jealousy that destroys everything in its path…a love that refuses to die.

Zoey Morgan seems to have it all as a successful surgeon in Boston. However, perfection lies only on the surface. Plagued by nightmares and amnesia from a tragedy that ripped her family from her fourteen years ago, she finds the courage to reach out to the only man who can make her feel safe. She’s buried the memory of their love, but her heart—and her body—responds to the ex-marine in ways that are all too familiar.

Grayson “Gray” Walker’s heart shattered when Zoey chose another man over him. Since then, he’s built an impenetrable wall around his emotions. But from the moment she implodes back into his life, her vulnerability breaches his defenses. His skills as an elite member of the King Security team cannot shield him from the devastation of learning he might have left Zoey high and dry when she  needed him most. Now, Gray must navigate the tripwire of helping her heal while protecting himself from being hurt again.

As the embers of their potent love reignite, an old threat awakens, leading to greater danger than ever before.

GENRE:  Steamy Romantic Suspense (R) 

LENGTH: 406 Pages

PUBL

ISHER: The Wild Rose Press

Note: This is a Stan

dalone HEA

#Steamy #RomanticSuspense

BUY LINKS:

 EXCERPT from Gray’s Promise:

The porch door was open, letting a soft breeze move through the cottage. I breathed in the dewy dampness, and a faint pain echoed near my heart. If I closed my eyes, I could almost hear Mama chattering to my dad in the kitchen. She always got up early to make breakfast. The memories were buried but when they surfaced, they were mine to treasure. I drank my coffee and washed down the last of my cinnamon roll. And with it, gently nudged the memory away.

The breeze gusted and I brushed away a curl of hair fluttering in my face. Gray was cracking eggs now and a wave of lust crept over me. His easy—and mostly naked—confidence in the kitchen was weirdly heady. An image of his face when he came last night slipped into my mind. The dampness in the air transferred to my skin and I shivered, goose bumps prickling up my arms. Jeez. He was so sexy. Even more than I could have ever imagined. Rubbing at my goosies, I peeked at him through my lashes. A vague heaviness fluttered in my tummy. He was confident and seductive as hell, but he was also holding back. He might have had reason last night, but I wasn’t going to let him get away with it for long. Gray’s running days were coming to an end. Soon.

“Butterfly.” His sexy growl demanded my attention. He was sipping coffee, his electric gaze focused on me. “You wearing panties?” 

About the Author: 

Anni Fife is an exciting contemporary romance author who has already made her mark in the popular genre of Steamy Romantic Suspense. Her debut novel, Luke’s Redemption, has been acclaimed by critics and readers and was a Finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Anni says she credits Kristen Ashley as her guiding inspiration, and strives to make her characters equally as heart-wrenching and unforgettable. She is currently working on Eva’s Peace (King Security Book 3).

Last year, Anni closed the door on a successful career in television production to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of a month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village. When she’s not writing, she can be found on the beach searching for pansy shells, or drinking red wine and gabbing with her gal posse.

If you want to know when Anni’s next book is releasing and be first to get regular updates and BONUS TREATS, visit her website and sign up to join her POSSE.

Anni is published by The Wild Rose Press and is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA).

 ANNI’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

ENTER Gray’s Promise Release Giveaway!

You can be a lucky winner of one of three free ebook copies of this brand new release.  Please use the RaffleCopter   below to enter or enter via my Facebook Giveaway Page – https://web.facebook.com/AnniFifeAuthor/app/228910107186452/?ref=page_internal

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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