Wednesday, November 30, 2011

haha!







birthday greetings setting atop a big box that contains my brain...I mean iPad. And below that a gift from lovely May Deva! A wiener for the wall. And look...I have a naked spot on the wall. (Um...I took a pic down for a Halloween sign and um...lost it...)

XOXO
Sommer

Waiting...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm currently...


in an area that looks v. much like this. In my head of course. It's been a crazy day. I ran, found out a neighbor was robbed in the middle of the day yesterday (!!!!), went to the bank (freaked out thinking my house was being robbed), then to the grocery store where I called the asst. manager on their piss poor check out policy for customers (while freaking out internally that my house was being robbed). I came home and unloaded (my house had not been robbed), got back in the car (took my laptop so I would not be robbed...of IT), went to the post office where I nearly punched the rude ass woman who waited on me (internally also freaking out that car was currently being robbed), got caught in the rain, went to the library and grabbed hold items (try to hurry so your car isn't robbed) and then got stuck in a bigger rainstorm and came home.

I am happy to report that I have not been robbed but have possibly gone loco.

That is all! Back to the dirty writing.

XOXO
Sommer

Monday, November 28, 2011

Author of the week at ARe cafe is...


Moi! Freaky deaky! Go see me if you get a chance and read whatever it was I said (LOL--I try not to overthink things. Sometimes that is very apparent). I'll never adjust to seeing myself for things like this, but it's a great way to kick off my birthday week. I have a feeling this week (at least in some spots) is going to be like a roller coaster ride.

Good morning, all. Happy Monday.

XOXO
Sommer

Saturday, November 26, 2011

FOUR...


that's how many days you have left to share a birthday memory with me and/or share our wisdom on turning forty and win my big birthday extravaganza! Full deets are here.

My time in my thirties is slipping away fast. Like sands through the hourglass so are the...well, it's going quickly. Let's just leave it at that.

Now back to some crappy SyFy movie with Mike Hammer in it.

XOXO
Sommer

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving thanks for Charlotte Stein and her nifty book CONTROL


And to do just that I bring you a brief funky Q&A with Charlotte Stein regarding her book CONTROL. Huzzah!

SM: You'll pardon me, Charlotte, if these are some goofy questions, but there has been some wine. So the obvious choice was to sit down and write your questions
for Control now! Duh!

I loved this book. I loved it, loved it, loved it so much I was ready to turn to page 1 after finishing the book. I laughed, I cried, I almost fell off my exercise bike (no shit) and yes...I got um...well, the man got a lot of action during this book. So here are my questions, bear with me.

Who is Andy? Who! Who? Because there is a scene in Control where Andy so very much debases himself (not like him) that I literally snorted so hard I choked. I want to know the visual for you when you wrote that very snarky, sexy, bad-bad boy.

CS: Some version of Alex O'Loughlin. It had to be Alex O'Loughlin, because by God that dudes looks as though he'd be up for just about anything. He has this weird mixture of forceful passion and laidback-who-gives-a-fuck that I've always found very beguiling, and of course - it contrasted nicely with Gabriel's repression and restraint.

My faux-Alex is probably going to be the star of one of my upcoming novels - Addicted. Because he makes an almost perfect sex addict. Insane enough about it to make it orsum, laidback enough that you don't worry.

SM: I know who Gabriel is, your version is so not who he was in my head (the beauty of erotica, if you ask me) but can you fill in my ever so nosy readers?

CS: Gabriel is based loosely on Gabriel Gray, from the TV show Heroes. Only you know. Way, way hornier. And not secretly a serial killer.

SM: Why submissive men? What is it about the sub man that flips your switch? I tend to love the Dom's but you managed to make the sub man work for me. How did you do that you witchy woman?

CS: I don't know, really. I've always just loved what I now know as femdom, and I remember it being a huge, huge disappointment to me, as a teenager, to realise that other women don't like the kinds of stories I do. I loved Black Lace books, but for a long time I couldn't get over how rare it was to find submissive men in them. I thought it was natural, to explore in fantasy what is often so reviled in reality - a strong woman, and a passive man. And then I grew up and realised that fantasy has almost nothing to do with reality. It's just whatever you like, and that can be just about anything - even for me. I can enjoy stories about submissive women just as much as I enjoy submissive men stories - as long as it's done well.

As for what flips my switch about it...I think my main kink is the idea of a man being completely unable to control himself. Not in a "I'm going to take you now" sort of way. More in a "fook, I just came buckets all over myself" kind of manner. I've never liked the stereotypical sort of femdom where the guy is all thin and weak and pathetic, grovelling on the floor of a cage while hogtied, as his Mistress stands over him in thigh high boots. I like very real scenarios that just so happen to have a reversed power dynamic - it's the woman who's objectifying, who's controlling the scenario, who's taking something she wants, etc.

As for why you don't mind it...well...at the very least I try to make my heroes hot. I think whether it's femdom or not, there's something very appealing about getting to do whatever you want want with some hot dude.

SM: Outfit you feel sexiest in?

CS: My birthday suit.

SM: Outfit you find him sexiest in?

CS: Sweatpants and nothing else. No underwear. No top. Lemme see what you've got, babe.

SM: Sexiest matching outfits (heh) with accessories, even!

CS: Well, Husband and I do have matching dressing gowns. But they're not cool. They're not sexy. There are things in the pockets that have probably been there for years. They looks like someone skinned an animal called a Blurto to make them...no.

SM: What are you working on now? Can you give us a peek? A snippet? A clue!?

CS: I am working on (in no particular order):

Power Play: workplace shenanigans, in which the boss of a publishing company takes serious advantage of her assistant. Because he's a horny bastard who makes her.


Nameless: Set in the same world as Reawakening. Zombies take over, girl finds herself locking horns with the usual redneck lowlife apocalypse asshole, can't stop having accidental red hot sex with him.


Future Pursuits: Sequel to Past Pleasures.


Menage: Friends do some naughty things. Meet up years later. Can't help doing them again.


Love Letters: Wife discovers her husband bonked a guy in college. The revelation sends their sex life through the roof, enter stage right the guy he bonked who also happens to be the most charming motherfooker to ever grace the earth.

SM: How will you be spending your holidays and does it involve a man like Gabriel in sexy women's underthings?

CS: I've asked Santa for that very thing, but somehow I suspect he's not going to come through for me. I'll probably be spending it like usual: seven hundred hours logged on the DS, a million plates of beetroot and ham eaten while watching various sitcoms, loads of books read on my Kindle, Husband asking me a thousand times if I liked my presents even though I always do because he's orsum.

SM: Will you come visit me and go shopping?

CS: YES! YES I WANT TO DO THIS PLEASE WE WILL GO TO THE SHOPS YES YES. Hooray!

SM: Chocolate, vanilla or cinnamon?

CS: Cinnamon. If they made a thing called a cinnamon bar, and it was basically cinnamon dust compressed into a log, I would eat it. I would eat nothing else forever - I forsake you, chocolate. My heart will always belong to cinnamon.

And if you were asking a secret sex question: also cinnamon. That means shoving it up his bum, right?

Blurb:
When Madison Morris decides to hire an assistant to help run her naughty bookshop, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Aggressive Andy doesn’t quite make the grade, but continues to push her buttons in other areas, while uptight and utterly repressed Gabriel can’t quite take Madison’s training techniques. One makes her grasp control, while the other makes her lose it. But the lines are blurring and she’s no longer sure who’s leading and who’s following. In the midst of kinky threesomes and power plays, can Madison work out what she really wants?


Snippet:

THE FIRST APPLICANT FOR the assistant job is very promising indeed. He puts his head between my thighs with minimal supervision and almost no prompting.

The only problem is I don’t recall creating an oral presentation portion of the interview. Or, for that matter, a portion that requires the answer: you know you want it. To a question I don‟t remember asking.

But I guess I must have asked for something, or none of it would have happened. Maybe it was all the staring I did, at the curling many-coloured tattoos all over his heavy-looking arms. Or the way I bristled beneath the weight of his deep blue gaze. I must have leant forward, and asked about his previous job experience in a way that suggested an underlying code.

Job meant sex. Experience meant now.

It was sharp of him, really, to understand. He got a cross in the interview attire column-such a thin, barely-there T-shirt!-but he got a big tick in the takes initiative and the understands subtle instructions columns.

I don’t think I got any ticks, in the cool, calm, controlling boss columns, unfortunately. But can’t I be forgiven? He looked like liquid sex and I can’t remember the last time I had anything even remotely resembling a drink. Or resembling a hard, solid body over mine. Or resembling the scent of someone besides myself, all over me-the slick slide of a tongue against my skin.

It’s probable that some of these needs showed on my face. And though I’m sure that some people are of the mind that women who wear neat little pleated skirts and boxy corduroy jackets-the uniform of bookstore owners and librarians everywhere-are bookish and quiet and quite dull, there’s probably an equal amount who view said women as repressed cauldrons of lust.

I’m pretty sure he sensed my boiling cauldron.


Buy Control

Visit Charlotte

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I still say Happy Thanksgiving...


despite discussion over such in the last few years. I draw from what the holiday has always meant to me. Good food, good friends, family. Sitting around a table, sharing a meal, listening to stories (especially those of my grandfather back in the day). I always anticipated not just the food but that overwhelming feeling of family and contentedness and laughter.

I have a good hefty chunk of Cherokee in me and some Blackfoot, we believe. So today, whether you choose to say Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Harvest or just Happy Thursday, I hope you have a wonderful day full of good memories, good grub, good friends, good laughs, family and whatever else floats your boat.

I still say Happy Thanksgiving, so I say that to you now. And follow with this which fits brilliantly into some of my roots:

Cherokee Prayer Blessing
May the Warm Winds of Heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your Moccasins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

you can leave your socks on...


I'm in this very pretty new ebook from Constable and Robinson, edited by Barbara Cardy. And there are a whole slew of them, priced super well. So why buy one when you can buy four?

My story You Can Leave Your Socks On is featured in Erotica volume 2. I know what you're saying...*gasp* "You, Sommer, wrote an erotic story featuring socks? Why, I never..."

Yar, yar, yar. Save it. I know, I have a sock problem. It could be worse. I could have an overalls problem...

XOXO
Sommer
p.s. don't forget to grab your free holiday copy of Sugar (see blog below for coupon code and instructions)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And I am thankful for...


You, readers! :) Given that the kick off of holiday season (starting with Halloween) usually triggers my sweet tooth, I'm giving away Sugar! Not actual sugar (though raw sugar straight up is yum and I've been known to sneak a few of those coarse grains just to chew), but my spanking story Sugar. Because I love spanking as much as I love sugar. Possibly more. *ahem*

For today, tomorrow and Thanksgiving day, Sugar is free on Smashwords.com . I'm pre-empting the evil, evil Black Friday by giving you something fun beforehand.

Simply go to Smashwords, search for Sugar (make sure our prude filter is OFF) and when you check out plug in coupon code: GN62A

Enjoy.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

XOXO
Sommer

Monday, November 21, 2011

pretty, pretty...



Happy to announce the release of two short erotic collections from House of Erotica. Buckle Down and Taking Care of Business each contain 4 short stories. You can find them on ARe, Kindle, iBookstore and a few more venues on the way. Pretty, eh? I know I'm not supposed to show favoritism but that cover on the left took my breath away. Whew.

XOXO
Sommer

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And...*inhale*

Dark Divas Reviews

In a previous blog (scroll down until you see a video of Chuck Palahniuk) I mentioned my worries and fears and worries and fears and worries and fears about Big Bad. There were some worries and fears (in case you missed that). But now the first official review (by a review site) has come and...tada! 4.5 Divas from Susan at Dark Divas Reviews.

Whew.

I feel like I can take a deep breath now. I had to repress a girlish squeal when the review opened with:

"Big Bad blew my socks off!"

What is there not to love about that!

To read the full review, just click the link above.

I'd also like to mention some fabulous reviews on Amazon. Thanks to T. Harrison, Jo, KD Grace and an amazing reader I just 'met' named Ava. You rock. (I know I'm probably supposed to act all cool and whatnot and pretend I didn't see them...but I did see them and they are appreciated!)

XOXO
S

Friday, November 18, 2011

No surrender...

Oh my god. I'm dying. I'm going to be 40 in twelve days. And then December 1 I will wake up and....what? Explode? Levitate? Be the wisest woman evah!? Probably not. But I realized I had a late start on a few things. Mid to late 30s. It makes me wonder what I'll discover when I'm 40. But let's look, shall we?

It was not until my very late 30s that I 'got' Bruce Springsteen. And now that I 'got' him, I think I'd like to kiss him. Among other things, but let's stick with kiss. I was listening to Born In The USA today and I must say, it is eerily on point for current times. As it was for the year it came out. That is kind of sad.




And does anyone know if that is his actual ass? *ahem*. Not that that is important.

It was not until my late 30s that I discovered Chuck Palahniuk. Or as I call him in my head, my writing Yoda. And if you scroll down to the video below you'll hear him say he didn't start writing till he was 33. Guess who else did not actually start writing for real until they were 33? *waves hand*. [insert Twilight Zone music here]



He is my most 'markable' writer. Meaning when I read his books, I tend to either bend pages (much to the man's chagrin) or use sticky notes on passages I need to mark.

It was not until my late 30s that I got into self torture--I mean running!--and it was only this week that I learned the "Down" mantra that actually works and is possibly scary in its efficacy.



I'd like to actually run that 5K in my 40s. Or even further. We'll see.

In my 30s I also lost a friendship and I thought it would break my heart. I got contacted by a major NY agent (whose writer list made me break out in hives) and we did not mesh and it did not work and....i thought it would break my heart. I had a book set up to go with a specific editor and was stoked and...it didn't happen...and I thought it would break my heart.

But my heart did not break. In fact, the book got published, the editor is back in my inbox, the agent thing I've made peace with and the friend thing I let go. And I'm ending my 30s stronger and happier and more in love than I entered them (and that last one is saying something). I mean, don't get me wrong, in a lot of ways life is hard right now, harder than ever. But happiness is a state of mind, I have come to believe. Never give up. Ever.

Like I said, I can't see what's headed my way. Hopefully this new book with this beloved editor and that race where I mutter "Down" to myself all the way to the finish line and some fun surprises. Things I don't even see coming.

Overall, these past ten years have been a hell of a ride. And I plan for it to get better...no retreat, no surrender.

XOXO
Sommer

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Got game?


Um. No. And I am discussing my total lack of mad gaming skillz over at Gee/k/ink today if you get a chance to stop in and say hi. Or say Uno! That works too.

XOXO
Sommer

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And...

I am done! Haha! I am also giddy and a bit mental, but I finished. Yay! After everyone is in for the night, I am pouring a bucket of wine and putting my feet up and toasting the end of what I hope is a pretty good book.

(And then next week I'll proof it. The end doesn't actually mean, the end. Not just yet, anyway @__@)

XOXO
Sommer

Attack wiener...


on duty for me today. I'm gonna run, then check email, then turn off my router or possibly set it out in the rain...or maybe in a nice warm bath, heh...and finish this BOOK! I am so close to being done I just need to be done.

Wish me luck and have a great day! :)

XOXO
Sommer

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"A no win game" or "How Chuck Palahniuk saved my sanity"



So I have a problem. I am the person who takes everything to heart. Squared. And I let anything even mildly negative eat away at me and drive me basically...bat shit.

So when I wrote Big Bad, I knew it would probably be a mixed bag reviews as far as paranormals went. There are folks who read paranormals who want their 'worlds' to be a specific way. Especially wolves. They want packs to be very much like packs in nature--something I learned when I wrote Base Nature and someone told me my werewolves were not behaving like werewolves. Which both startled me and sort of cracked me up.

Bottom line is: I knew it would fly with some and sink with others. I knew it and I was okay with it. I thought.

It's very easy to be brave before something happens, don't you think? It's entirely different to keep your shit together when it actually happens.

So it happened--My first book that came out of the gate at a mere 3 on Goodreads. Yes, 3 is "I liked it". To me that means "You are mediocre" (please keep in mind these are my hangups. Do not read anything at all into it regarding anyone else's writing. This is really just about my own mangled mind fuckery.)

So not to put too fine of a point on it. I freaked out.

Then a review came in from someone who didn't finish the book and didn't like it. At all. And I freaked out some more. Because to me. "I don't like it" means "I don't like you."

Which is stupid. But hey, I'm being honest here.

Then I saw the video above. (specifically 4:34) And I literally felt my entire body exhale. I relaxed. It was like someone had taken a piano off my back and said, hey, take a deep breath.

It is much easier for my type AAAAAAA personality to say: she didn't get it than she didn't like it. Because not liking it=not liking me (not really...just to yours truly). But not getting it=didn't work for her. And that is something my mind 'gets'.

So if you tend to take things to heart and let them eat at you and are a bit of a nutter like moi...I suggest you watch this whole thing. Not just minute 4:34. It's worth it. Totally.

And in the interim the book has picked up 5 stars and 4 stars and yes, more 3 stars. And I think some even lower. Raves and rips, basically. And so far I haven't exploded.

Good stuff ;)

XOXO
Sommer

Monday, November 14, 2011

oh and also...


later today author Kiki Howell will be on my December Ink list having some fun and chatting. Pop in and visit her later if you get a chance. Don't worry if you're not a member, it only takes one click to become one :)

XOXO
Sommer

and the random number generator chose...


Barbara! Yay Barbara. You win a copy of Elise's nifty dirty updated fairytale. Wooohoo, we'll be contacting you-hooo! :)

XOXO
Sommer

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hmm...dilemma...

I am almost done this book. This book has haunted me. It has taunted me. It's in my head 24/7 even when I backed off to take a last minute emergency project. And now I am almost done! Almost...DONE!

But here's that dilemma I mentioned. I have had one particular scene in my head for this book from the first page. It stays in my head and it plays on a loop of good sexy awesomeness. And did I mention I'm almost done? I am right where I thought I'd be at this point in the book--ready to wrap it up and I just realized...I wrote right around that scene! I never did it. It's been in my noggin before I ever set a single word to paper and I didn't put it in.

Now me being me--which is a character driven writer--I figure that means that particular scene, while hot as the gates of Hell, doesn't really belong in this book. Maybe this is a different book. Maybe my characters changed their minds. Maybe someone got shy. Maybe...

Because I'm a firm believer that if it was meant to be, it would be in there. I often get to the end of a book and it feels like a giant laundry basket of tangled yarn. Tons and tons and tons of different colored yarn that's all somehow gotten wound up together and is a giant mess. And when I go back and do a proof reading, I realize...nope. My brain knew what it was doing even if I didn't.

And now that I have rambled over my forgotten scorching sex scene, my brain just told me what we're going to do.

So, hey, thanks for listening! It's all worked out now. Isn't it funny how that happens?"

XOXO
Sommer

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bizarres from the Bazaar

And we have reached that time of year, dear readers, where I show you all the oddities I collect at the local bazaars. We have an eclectic kind of dealio in this house. Traditional meets modern meets country meets kitsch. Basically, what makes us happy. Here we go...

I don't know what it is, but I needed it...it makes me think of the 70s.

It's a bottle. It's a leaf. Tada!

It's a looooooooooooooong basket. I have a basket problem. Seriously.

The man and I have an inside gnome joke. And these were too horrid to pass up...

Stay tuned! There's another one next week!

XOXO
Sommer

Friday, November 11, 2011

what have i been doing lately?



Love - Engagement
Falling in love with my man all over again. The person I've become over all these years is falling in love with the person he's become. Like brand new.

It's pretty fucking cool. And I wanted to say that.

Have an awesome weekend. I plan to.

XOXO
Sommer

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Elise Hepner: Not So Pure...


[[[I'm actually posting this a bit early. Apologies for confusion. It was a rough day and a rough evening which ended in me getting pretty damn ill. So I have just about enough juice to put this up in case I'm MIA tomorrow. So I wanted to say,]]]

Yay! Elise Hepner, fellow Marylander, is on my blog with a guest blog and a snippet and all that fun stuff.

So, welcome to her and enjoy a snippet. Maybe I'll have to trick her into lunch one day. I like meeting actual people in actual person. LOL

While you're here leave a comment. There's a giveaway of an e-copy so just say hi for a chance to win. What's say we run it until...Monday? Then I'll choose a winner.

~~~~
Kinky Fairytales
I always thought kinky fairytales were the best of both worlds because they can encompass and cross through so many different genres but still have the heat factor I love most of all. I’ve read historical ones, modern ones, magic ones, or just stories with a quick twist that made me go “huh”—though it wasn’t a twist of the nipple variety, I promise. It’s one genre I keep going back to over and over in my buying book habit because I never know exactly what I’m going to get with each tale.

Most often I find myself picking up kinky fairytale anthologies because then I get the best of both worlds, but I’m a series girl at heart so if I fall in love with the fairytale book one of my dreams I’m rushing to buy the others in the series. Cross-genre appeal, sexy situations, and sometimes even a little hocus pocus? How can I resist? I’m a sucker for it.

Also, with every fairytale there’s that glimmer of familiarity, that spark of that old story inside the new story that makes me think how awesome an author was to think of the old tale in this fashion. There’s so much to play with it’s hard to find any two redux that are exactly alike. With every twist and turn I know it’s a story I loved when I was younger and now it’s a story I can love again when I’m older. Like bringing new life to an old, well-worn sweater by making it into a pair of mittens. Can you tell I don’t sew? Oh well, I tried, you get the idea right?

Fairytales are cozy for me. A place of comfort. Hit that with the kinky sex hammer and I am so down for some e-book buying fun.

Blurb:
White runs from her prison of a past and enters into a sexual deal with seven men that alters the course of her life for eternity. Caught between her need to take control and making up for her serious lack of good sex, she enters a wonderland of kinky possibilities with men who show her that Prince Charmings come in all shapes and sizes. For White and her men—once upon a time doesn’t cut it—three or four times sound just about right.

With each partner—not always one at a time—White beats back her trust issues. But the shadow of her past comes back to haunt them all. Now she must introduce them to her personal battle, hoping they’ll fight beside her as their sinful nights turn into hellish days. Happily ever after isn’t by the books anymore.

Bright morning sunshine filtered through the trees, casting warmth all over her dirty body, and not bothering to look down at herself, she continued to pick her way through the forest. The light breeze blowing against her cheek was thick with scents from the night before—blooming night jasmine and sweat. She gritted her teeth against the nausea rooted in her stomach and noticed the fine shaking running up her bare thighs. How long could she go without food or water before she passed out? Her last meal had been yesterday afternoon, would that be enough? She didn’t know.

A plan was paramount.

She heard stories of men out here. They all lived together outside of town, away from the glitz and glamour of the city. Would they help or not? Either she found the nearest path back to a main road or she searched for a random cottage. There was no way to tell which would be easier.

Why had she even gone with Huntsman! This train of thought would get her nowhere and at least she was out of the house. She quickly stopped questioning and made a choice.

She would try to find the infamous cottage in the woods.

The reasoning was simple enough. It was logically easier to persuade a few people to help her out than walking to town and relying on a larger group of people. With more people, the odds of them saying no went up. Townspeople had that “who me?” aspect to them that made ignorance bliss. So many people would probably glance out of the corner of their eye at her begging and hurry along because of the implications of helping street filth.

And that’s what she looked like right now. With no money, no prospects and no work experience, so she had to start from scratch—there wasn’t much else but pity to fall back on.

This wasn’t a fairytale where someone would slip money into her hand and offer her a warm bed for the night. Most people were too selfish. White was better off going one-on-one with a group of men who’d already shed society’s rules by living in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, the trip was neither close nor easy.

Now she was caked in god-knows-what, looking toward the morning sky and waiting for a cottage to come in sight. What other option did she have? There was no indication of what awaited her there. But it had to be better than what was back in the woods—embracing destiny and all that jazz.

“Or running away from it,” she mumbled.

All the same. But it was hard to ignore her survival instincts. They had at least gotten her out of that prison and from now on it was her own way or she could bolt if she wanted to. Yet, this was the first time she’d been out of the house in how long? For a second her whole world rotated a hundred and eighty degrees.

The fresh air was joyous as it whipped around her half-naked body. It moved along the sensitive nape of her neck and brushed lightly against her shoulders and her spine. Inside her head it was peaceful and maddening all at once. Sure, she could do whatever she wanted now—that was a relief—but she couldn’t do anything without a good meal. So technically, she still didn’t have half as much independence as she would have liked.

When the sun came through the breaks at the top of the tree-line, the outline of a house was illuminated and she tried to hold back her curiosity. Her stomach plunged as nervous butterflies fluttered in her abdomen and she crossed her arms around her waist. This must be the place, they had an auto body shop and car parts were spread everywhere.

Everyone in town knew about the men who lived in the woods to get away from the catty glitz of the real world. People said the men lived in a fairytale. White believed it when she had the chance to examine the cottage up close. Aquamarine windows lined with chipped, coal black casings glistened with grease. There was a sloping roof with red tinted shingles, though some were missing in a weird pattern.

No one did the place justice—because it was a complete mess

Why would they need a door with bars on the peep-hole window? Were there normally robberies in the middle of a forest?

They topped it all off with a yard of rusted metal—which made sense because they were rumored to be mechanics. But motorcycle parts, engines, and tires laying out on the lawn without rhyme or reason? She supposed everyone had to have a hobby.

White gingerly sidestepped her way through the car parts. The scent of cooked meat beckoned her closer toward the door and her stomach twisted with hunger. Caught between the need to bang on the door or to let herself inside—damn the consequences—she settled for something in between both actions.

“Hey!” White shouted, throat burning with thirst. “Can I get a little help out here?”

She moved toward the door when she heard footsteps because moving backward was cowardly. A man, judging by his broad shoulders. He peered through the window. Barred rectangular shadows hollowed his face and forehead. He slightly opened the door to peek out at her with suspicion through the small crack.

Maybe she had been expecting a deformity because they lived in the middle of nowhere. But when she searched his face for a pockmark or fake eye, all that she could see was the bone structure of a model with a little bit of scruff on his chin. His amber brown eyes narrowed. Wasn’t she the one who should be suspicious?

A tiny tremor shot up her spine when he opened the door all the way and eased his toned, sculpted frame through the gap. No peg leg either. From what she could see, he was all there. A perfect specimen. She absently rubbed the fuzz on her head, wondering why men did it electively. Like the stranger in front of her with white blond hair buzzed to his scalp. She dropped her hand and tightened her jaw.

He squinted at her because the sun was directly in his eyes. It meant he stood somewhere in the range of six-feet-four-inches with a high metabolism as evidenced by his lithe, muscular build. He rolled his shoulders, hands ducking into the pockets of a pair of brown corduroys. The cotton shirt he had on exuded spicy, musky man smell and she shifted from foot to foot.

“Are you willing to help me?”

“It depends on what you want and why you’re here.” His voice came out in a guttural lullaby. “Not many people venture out here without a car.”

He gave her a cursory once over with his eyes.

“And you really don’t have much of anything.”

“I just want some food and to get some sleep. It’s been a long night.” She crossed her arms, acting like his answer didn’t define the next few minutes. “I’ll be out of your house by morning if I can help it.”

“Where are your clothes?”

“Long story, but at least I have underwear, right?”

His gaze snapped up and down with heat flickering in his tawny pupils. That look was familiar, lust was easy to pinpoint. He wanted her even if he didn’t know it yet. So, there was a foothold now and she was going to take advantage of it.

If this is what it took to get some food, then so be it. Weirder things had transpired at the mansion—and worse things had been traded for drugs. Besides, whoever got anything in life for free?

A simple flashing wouldn’t do her any harm. She hadn’t seen anyone react to her body who wasn’t coked up or twice her age in awhile and deep inside she enjoyed knowing that he wanted her. A little thrill made her heart beat faster—no one else would see her half naked—they were in the middle of a forest. But the idea that someone could see turned her on more than she’d like to admit.

There was no getting around the fact that he was hot.

She uncrossed her arms and let them rest by her sides, giving him an eyeful of her breasts. Without pausing, he was by her side, offering his shirt with an outstretched hand.

“W—what?” she stammered, uncertain.

“I’d feel more comfortable talking to you if you were dressed.”

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