Tag Archives: Love

Another new release by Jane Beckenham


For the next two weeks, I’m very excited to share two new releases from two of my good friends and fellow authors. This week,
Jane Beckenham
has a new release out with
Red Rose Publishing
which I’ll share with you in a moment, along with an excerpt to whet your apitite. Next week, I’ll be sharing info on a new hot number by
Jodi Redford
On with this week’s new release!
In Love With The Sheikh
Desert Rose Anthology
Jane Beckenham
Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Interracial/Multicultural
ISBN: 978-1-60435-723-3
Cover Artist: Missy Lyons
Editor: Zena Gainer
Word Count: 49,380
Release Date: June 17, 2010

Desperate to discover her past, Lilly Duprés outbids Sheikh Kalim Raschid for an antique brooch. Her triumph is short lived. She can’t honor that bid. Accepting an offer to solve her financial embarrassment, Lilly discovers Kalim has every material thing yet spurns what she most desires. Love. Family. To belong.
After a lifetime spent watching his father hurt his mother, Kalim has vowed he would never imitate his father. But Lilly breaches his defenses leaving him vulnerable.
Faced with something he never wanted, Kalim must choose his future, and Lilly must accept her past, until life and love can come full-circle.

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Kidnapped Chapter 7 and 8


Chapter 7

Some men were just not that bright; her abductor, apparently, was one of them. “You may be wary of me, but you certainly are stupid.” Setting her coffee cup on the floor, she began untying herself. It didn’t take her long to get the ropes off, even with her left hand, given the fact that she was ambidextrous. Grabbing the chair she’d been tied to, she waited by the door for him to return.

“You messed with the wrong woman, big guy.” Giddy with excitement, she waited for him to return. She knew there would be no way she could get past him if she didn’t knock him out, and she hoped the chair did the trick. When she heard his familiar steps coming towards her, she felt the excitement ripple inside of her. Lifting the chair as best she could, she grunted with its weight; then with great patience, she waited.

The keys jingled, the door knob turned, the door opened. The instant he entered the doorway, she sent the chair crashing down on him. With a hearty groan, he went down.

“Yes!” Jumping over him, Liz darted from the room, freedom in her sights. Though she hadn’t knocked him out, she’d momentarily stunned him, which gave her enough time to make a break for it.

“She’s loose,” Mac called out, pushing the chair aside and bracing himself as he tried to stand.

She was free at last and nothing was going to prevent her from leaving. Seeing Betty Rubble blocking the bottom of the stairs didn’t faze her; she lifted her foot and kicked him right in the face. Her bare foot sang with pain. Ignoring it, she jumped over his slumped body and searched for an escape. She’d have plenty of time to deal with the pain after she was free.

“Grab her,” Mac yelled as he ran down the stairs.

“She fucking kicked me.”

“Deal with it, she’s getting away.” Jumping over Terry’s body at the bottom of the stairs, Mac ran after her.

She saw the back door and darted for it. Her hand reached out to the door knob as he caught up with her, grabbing her by the arm. She screamed, turning, fists ready.

Managing to avoid the fist flying towards his face, Mac grabbed her hand. “Son-of-a-bitch.” His shin rang with pain from the blow from her foot.

“Let me go.” She lashed out again, using her other hand to beat on his arms to get him to release her.

“The hell I will.” Spinning her, he pinned her against the door. “Get over here and help me already.”

Holding his bleeding nose, Terry swaggered towards Mac. “Just smack her, that’ll calm her down.”

“There’s been enough hitting. Grab her legs when I turn her.” Holding both arms behind her back, he spun them both and hooked one of his legs around hers to prevent her from booting Terry.

“You won’t get away with this.” Liz struggled, fighting to break free. When Betty grabbed her ankles, she bent her knees and tried pushing him away.

“Stupid bitch.”

“Hold her,” Mac warned him with stern eyes.

“I’ve got her.”

“You’ll pay for this, you bastards.” Twisting her body wildly, she made it damn near impossible for them to hang on to her. They carried her back up the stairs and into the bedroom as she struggled. She finally managed to slip her hands free of Bart’s hold, so she struck out at him and connected with Bart’s jaw.

“Damn it.”

“Yes, take that you bastard.” Her victory was sort lived as he grabbed her hands in one of his, then released her body having her angling nearly to the floor.

“Get her to the bed.”

“Now we’re talking.”

“No, no don’t, please don’t.” Liz quivered; she knew that tone in Betty’s voice and she couldn’t go through that

again.

“Just grab the ropes.”

The instant he set her on the bed, she tried to break free. Her breath hitched when he climbed on top of her, pinning her down. “You won’t get away with this. I’ll see you both burn in hell for what you’ve done to me.” She bucked with her hips even though it was useless given the fact the guy weighed a great deal more than she did.

“Yeah, you keep dreaming, princess. Tie up her legs.”

“Ouch,” Liz gasped when Betty yanked her foot hard.

“Take it easy. There’s no need to be rough, Betty.”

“She fucking kicked me, Bart.” Betty grabbed her other foot with as much force as he had the other.

“Get out of here, I’ll deal with her. Go,” Bart demanded.

“Whatever.” Throwing his hands in the air, Betty shot Liz a nasty glare, then left the room.

“Now, let’s get these hands of yours tied up.”

“Get off of me, you brute.” She bucked, trying to knock him off of her. He fell forwards, his head hitting hers. “Ouch.”

“Very intelligent.”

Her pulse began to flutter again and she felt her body react in the most pleasant of ways. They both stilled. Though she stared into the face of a silly cartoon mask, she saw the warm eyes behind it and felt herself lost in his gaze.

Holding her hands with one of his, he used the other to touch her bleeding lip. “You’re bleeding,” he said softly, his eyes shifting to meet hers.

“Oh,” she sighed, lost in his gaze.

“I should clean it up for you.”

“Uh huh,” she panted, licking her lip. She tasted the blood and it drew her back. Blinking her eyes, breaking the hold he’d had on her, she came back to reality with a hard thud. “Get off of me already, you jerk.”

“You’ve got a real smart mouth there, princess.”

“And you’re as heavy as an elephant.” She bucked again, then remembered what happened the last time and settled down.

“If you had any weight on you, you might have been more successful in taking me out.” He slid off of her and stood, looked down then quickly turned away. “I’ll be right back with something for your lip.”

The door closed and she heard him lock it from the other side. Blowing out a deep breath, Liz tried to get her system to level out. She felt hot, but it had nothing to do with the warmth of the room. She knew this feeling and it was not a comfortable one. She’d seen the bulge in his pants before he abruptly turned and hurried from the room, and lord it was doing a number to her system. How on earth could she be feeling desire? The guy was her abductor.

As she lay on the bed, her arms tied above her head, she wondered what it would have felt like if he’d kissed her.

~

Sifting through the medicine cabinet in the hallway washroom, Mac tried to get his mind off of Liz. There was something seriously wrong with him for wanting her. Number one, he was holding her captive, it was wrong to want her. Number two, she was so not his type. He didn’t date prissy prima donna women. She wore designer everything and came from money and walked with her nose in the air, snubbing those beneath her—not the kind of woman who interested him.

Grabbing the skin glue, he reminded himself that in a few days it would all be over, she would go her way, he would go his. Liz would pass him sometime on the street and she wouldn’t have a clue it had been him that had taken her. Sighing, Mac wondered if he would be able to forget her as easily. Lord knew the guilt nagged him, especially after Terry’s attempted rape. His hand curled tight around the bottle. Bastard.

He needed to carry through with it; there was no other choice in that matter. Grabbing a cloth, he wet it, then walked back to the bedroom. In six days’ time, he would hand the bank the money they demanded and he would have his farm, free and clear.

Yes, but at what price?

Chapter 8

She heard the key in the door and turned her head as he entered the room. Look at him, she thought to herself as she scanned her eyes over his body. He was big, his arms were muscular, his chest was wide, most likely as muscular as his arms, and he looked like a frikin’ body builder. So not her type, not to mention the fact that he held her captive, for Christ’s sake. Then how did he manage to turn her on? Yet when he approached, the scent of his cologne floating towards her, she felt her body stirring with need.

“I should have thought of this before.”

Her mind clicked back. Looking up into that silly childish mask, she spoke without thought. “Perhaps thinking isn’t your forte.”

“Perhaps you should be grateful I’m fixing your lip,” he snapped back, just as snide.

“Grateful, yes, I should be fucking grateful your buddy smacked me, splitting my lip. Jackass.” She flinched, waiting for the assault.

Walking to the foot of the bed, he began untying her feet from the posts but leaving them tied together.

“What are you doing?” It astounded her that she constantly got away with the verbal abuse with him and never received any sort of repercussion.

“Moving you to the chair.”

“You really are a glutton for punishment aren’t you?”

He lifted her to her feet, holding her hands tight in his and met her glare. “I learn from my mistakes, princess.”

“Stop calling me that.” She spoke through gritted teeth.

“As long as it irritates you, princess, I’ll keep using it. Let’s go.” His eyes narrowed with warning. “Don’t even try it.”

With a cocky smile, she yanked her hands free.

“And how far do you think you’ll get with your hands and your feet tied together?” Reaching out, he grabbed hold of her hands once more.

“I untied myself once, I’ll do it again.” She hopped as he pulled her towards the chair, creating as much resistance as possible.

“Only because I was stupid enough to leave you with one hand untied.” He pushed her down onto the chair.

“At least we both agree you’re stupid.”

His hands holding her against the chair, he leaned down and got right in her face. “You really are gutsy for someone being held against her will.”

Her chin jutting out, she retorted. “You don’t scare me, Bart.”

“I could change that very easily.”

One look in his eyes and she knew better. He may look big, but he didn’t scare her in the slightest. “Is that Calvin cologne? I love the scent, very soft, very…nonthreatening.” She gritted her teeth in a mock smile.

His teeth grinding, he grabbed the ropes and began winding them around her body.

“Got nothing to say to that, do you, big guy?”

“You know, I still have the gag we used on you and I’m not against using it again.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” she challenged.

With a devious smile, he walked to his dresser, pulled open the top drawer and grabbed a red hanky. Turning to her, he waved it in her face. “Oh, I dare.”

“I’ll scream.”

“No one will hear you.”

She’d see about that. As she opened her mouth, ready to scream, she realized her mistake. He shoved the cloth in between her teeth, then tied it behind her head.

Laughing, he moved around to face her, dusting his hands. “Still in control here, princess, best to remember that.”

“Jackass,” she mumbled through the cloth, furious.

Still laughing, he opened the door and left her to fume.

~

“What was that all about?” Terry asked as Mac came down the stairs.

“Me having a little fun.”

“So why is it okay for you to have fun but I can’t?”

Mac turned to him with a frown. The guy was unbelievable. “Because my kind of fun doesn’t involve assault. Make something for dinner, okay?”

“I’m not your bitch, Mac, do it yourself.”

“What the hell is your problem?”

“I’m bored of this shit already.”

“Fine, then leave.” Nothing would please him more if the guy walked.

“I’m in this just as much as you, Mac, and I’m not leaving until I get what’s mine.” Terry stood, challenging Mac.

“What? An acting gig? Like that’s reason enough to kidnap someone.” Mac snorted, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it.

“A lead role,” Terry corrected, “and let’s discuss why you’re doing it, Mac. Because your daddy couldn’t afford to make the payments on this place before he died.”

Mac’s fist curled at his side but he didn’t use it, even though he wanted to smash it into the bastards face. “Make something for dinner,” he said through gritted teeth. Yes, his father hadn’t been able to make the payments, but only because his health had been failing and he hadn’t wanted his sons to know.

“What the hell am I supposed to make?” Sitting back down, Terry picked up his journal and began writing.

“There’s chicken in the fridge, cook it however you see fit. I’ll be upstairs watching after Liz.” He crushed his cigarette out in the ashtray with a great deal of force.

“Why don’t you cook and I’ll watch her?”

“Because I don’t trust you to even look at her. Do as I tell you.”

His back up, Terry stood once more. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”

“I’m the guy who’s not telling the boss what you tried to do, and you know if he found out, you would be out on your ass without that lead role, or any fucking role for that matter. Still want to challenge me, pal?”

Gritting his teeth, Terry sat down and went back to his journal.

“Didn’t think so.” Enjoying his victory, Mac headed back up the stairs.

Kidnapped Chapter 6


Chapter 6

Her eyes shot open as the alarm clock buzzed beside her. “Shit.” Her heart hammering, she watched as he reached over and shut it off.

“’Morning.”

“It’s only six o’clock.” She yawned, her lip cracking and creating a ripple of burning pain. “Damn it.”

“I’m an early riser. Hmmm, you opened it up some last night. Hurt much?”

“No, it feels wonderful, you idiot.” She paused, shocked that she had said such a thing to him, and waited for any response, however brutal it might be.

“Well, someone’s not very chipper in the morning.”

She cocked her head to the side, baffled by his response.

“I guess I wouldn’t be too chipper either if my lip was killing me. I’ll clean it up for you, then grab some Advil for the pain.”

She watched in complete astonishment as he walked to the washroom—he wasn’t even disturbed with her? Okay, what’s up with this guy? She needed to test the waters. “You try sleeping with your arms tied to the bed and see how happy you are in the morning.”

He stepped from the washroom with a damp cloth, moving towards her. “I wasn’t exactly comfortable either, princess.”

Hmmm. “You could have slept in your bed. I didn’t have a choice as to how or where I slept.” She snarled her response, feeling rather brave now.

“Sweetie, you are in my bed.” Leaning over her, he dabbed the blood on her chin.

Her pulse fluttered beneath her skin and as her eyes lifted to meet his, it fluttered even more. Sweet God, what the hell was wrong with her? How could she be feeling arousal from this man holding her captive?

“Liz?”

“What?” She jumped, her response quick.

“I asked if I let you go to the washroom to clean your lip, do you promise not to kick me again?”

She told her pulse to slow down, calmed her rapid breathing and nodded. She couldn’t be feeling something for him, that was just…wrong.

“I can manage from here,” she insisted as he hoisted her to her feet, trying to pull her hands from his. Her pulse fluttered again, and it pissed her off.

“I’m sure you can.” But he helped her to the washroom just to be sure.

She closed the door in his face and turned to the mirror. Her face looked pale, her lip swollen and bloody, and her jaw hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. Her mind swirled with the arousal she felt being near him. She needed psychiatric help for lusting after her abductor. Splashing water on her face, washing her eyes, then carefully wiping her sore lip, she continued to think how idiotic it was to even think she could feel desire for him.

She did her business, ran her fingers through her hair trying to smooth it out as best she could without a brush, and opened the bathroom door. She saw Mac standing to the side, the ropes dangling in his hand. Her eyes lifted to his, then down to the ropes.

“Don’t even think about it.”

Making a break for it, she jutted to her right, then, faking him out, she bolted off to the left. She climbed over the bed, the blanket nearly tripping her up, then jumping off the bed, she ran for the door. She grabbed the door knob just as he came up behind her. She let out a squeal as he grabbed her left hand and pulled it behind her back, pinning her body to the door.

“Man, you just don’t give up.”

“Of course I’m not going to give up, you jackass. Do you think I’m just going to sit by and let you keep me tied up, for God sakes?” She jerked her body, trying to break free. He pinned her good and tight against the door. Her pulse began to flutter again, making her curse under her breath. When he reached in front of her to grab her right hand, she fought to keep him from taking it. Quicker than she was, he managed to grab it and pulled it behind her.

“And how did you expect to get out of here when the door is locked?”

“You didn’t lock it last night when you came up to bed.” He spun her around and pressed her against the door, holding her in place with his body. This time her pulse didn’t just flutter, it hammered.

“Fine, so you would have made it out the door, then what? You wouldn’t have gotten far, princess, with Betty Rubble keeping watch downstairs.”

“At this hour, only a crazy person would be awake.” She jerked her body once more, trying to get away from him. She felt pretty damn hot and it was getting very uncomfortable.

“Check it out, princess, you happen to be awake. Does that make you crazy?”

She knew she was panting but couldn’t control herself. Being so near to him was making her pulse throb and her chest ache with need. “I didn’t have a choice; your stupid alarm clock woke me.” She lifted her knee, ready to strike.

Faster than she, he blocked her attempt with his hand. “I like the mornings.”

“I like to sleep in.”

Lost for words, they stared into each other’s eyes, breathless. Moments passed before Mac shifted away, pulling her from the door. He didn’t say a word to her as he led her to the chair. Knowing what he had planned for her now, she refused to allow it to happen. When he pushed her down into the chair, she stood right back up.

“Get a grip.”

It shocked her when he lifted his leg and planted his knee on her chest. And when he leaned in closer to tie her up, she could smell his cologne, and it tickled her arousal. His hair beneath the mask brushed against her cheek as he bent near her ear to tie the ropes around her and it felt like satin. Turning her head, she saw the tufts of dark curly hair, and she nearly sighed.

“There, that should do it.”

Liz sat in her chair as he left the room, her chest rising and falling with each heavy breath she took. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” Letting her head fall back, she wasn’t quite sure what to think. The man abducted her and was holding her captive, for God sakes, and she lusted after him. She didn’t even know what he looked like, yet she wanted him. God, Liz, get a grip.

Coming to her senses, she realized she needed to get out, she just didn’t know how. She’d tried to make a break for it, twice, only to be dragged back. The window, it was still her best chance, and the brief glances the night before led her to believe it would be plenty big enough for her to squeeze through. All she needed to do is break free of the ropes and she was set.

Shifting her body, she ignored the burning sensation the ropes caused as they rubbed against her skin. There would be plenty of time to sooth them when she broke free.

~

Feeling more himself after the cold shower, Mac headed for the kitchen to make some breakfast. Seeing Terry sitting at the table eating a plate of fluffy eggs soured his mood. Saying nothing to him, he moved to the fridge, grabbing the butter and jam. Setting them on the counter, he was pleased to see the coffee ready. Pouring himself a cup, adding a spoon of sugar, he pulled out the toaster and added four slices of bread, pressing the lever down.

“He called last night.”

“What?” Mac turned sharply, the coffee in the cup sloshing over the rim to scald his fingers. Setting the cup on the counter, he put his fingers in his mouth. “Why didn’t you come get me?”

Terry shrugged, lifting his own coffee cup to his lips, taking a sip before speaking. “Didn’t want to disturb you.”

“I’m in charge, Terry, you should have called me to the phone.” He turned when the toast popped, annoyed. “What did he want?”

“He was checking in, making sure everything went smoothly. I told him everything went according to plan.”

He buttered the toast then slopped jam on it. “What else?”

“That’s it. Said he would be in touch.”

Great, Mac thought, he’d be in touch. He had the easy part, while Mac put everything on the line. Not like he had much of a choice now, did he, and the guy knew that. Rock and a hard place, that’s where he sat. Pouring another cup of coffee, he set both cups as well as the plate of toast on a tray then turned to the fridge and grabbed a bowl of strawberries, fresh from his own garden. “Tidy up for me while I’m upstairs okay.”

“I’m not your bitch, Mac.” Terry snarled into his cup.

“I didn’t make the eggs, and thank you for sharing by the way.”

“Whatever.”

Clenching his jaw, Mac carried the tray up the stairs, wishing he didn’t have to be stuck with the creep. But he’d had no choice in the matter, so he just had to put up with him.

Setting the tray on the floor, he pulled the key from his pocket, unlocked the door, then, pulling the mask from his back pocket, he slipped it over his head before opening the door. “Room service.”

Her head shifted in his direction and her eyes focused on the tray in his hand. “Cheap restaurant if you call that breakfast.”

“My, what a smart mouth we have, princess.” Smiling, he set the tray on the bed and moved in behind her. “Right handed, right?” The scent of her hair tickled his nose and stirred his pulse.

“Yes.”

Shaking it off, he untied her left hand then tied the right to the ropes around her body.

“I said I was right handed.”

“I know.” He took the plate of toast, lifted two pieces off the plate for himself, put a few strawberries beside hers then set the plate on her lap. “Here you go.”

Liz looked down at the food before her, then back up at Mac. “You must have broken a sweat cooking for me. You shouldn’t have.”

Ooh, he loved her sarcasm. “All the more reason for you to enjoy it.” He took a seat across from her, the tray on his lap with his toast and coffee.

“Where’s my cup?”

“Over there.” He motioned to the night stand, taking a bite of his toast.

She glanced to her left and saw the cup sitting there. “May I have it?”

“In time.”

Her eyes shifted to his as her left eyebrow shot up. “Now what could I possibly do with a cup of coffee, aside from drinking it?”

“You strike me as the inventive type; you’d find other uses for it.”

Her lip curled up but not enough to open the wound. “Like throwing it at you?”

“Bingo, princess.”

“Afraid of me, big guy?” She bit into a strawberry, licking the juices that trickled from her mouth.

He watched her tongue as it lapped up the juices and felt his loins tighten. “Wary.”

“Then why bring me a cup?”

His eyes were glued to the way she ate that luscious red juicy strawberry and the way her lips molded its form, the way her tongue lapped up the juices. “Why do you think it’s sitting over there and not in your hands right now?”

Smiling, she licked the strawberry juice from her fingers. “And you think giving me a cooled cup of coffee is any better?”

He imagined his fingers in her mouth. “Cool coffee doesn’t hurt as much.”

“Ever had a cup smashed over your head?”

Shaking his mind clear, his eyes lifted to hers. “See, now that is exactly why I’m guarded.” He stood now, knowing that if he didn’t leave the room soon, he wasn’t going to be able to. “Finished?”

“No.”

“Then no coffee.”

“Fine, I’m finished.” She’d give up the last pieces of the overly sweet toast and juicy strawberries for the coffee any day.

“Here you go.” Taking the plate, he set it on the tray with his coffee cup then walked to the door. “I’ll be right back.”

He closed the door behind him, locking it.

Kidnapped Chapter 5


Mac didn’t have a clue where Terry had gone off to, and he really didn’t give a rat’s ass. Just as long as the guy wasn’t around him, or near Liz. He couldn’t believe the bastard had been close to forcing himself on her. Grabbing the ice pack from the emergency kit, he gave it a snap to start the freezing process as he headed up the stairs for the antiseptic. Unlocking the bedroom door, he heard Liz sniffling and his heart sank. He didn’t say a word as he moved towards her and took a seat in the chair across from her, lifting the ice pack to her mouth. When she jerked back, flinching, he wanted to kill Terry for making her so jittery. Scaring or hurting her hadn’t been part of the plan.

“I’m sorry.” Carefully he laid the bag against her mouth. “This will help the swelling.” His eyes shifted to the open blouse and to the lush pink breasts, and his male hormones came to attention. Berating himself, he lifted his eyes.

“I…have some antiseptic here, to clean the wound to make sure it doesn’t get infected.” Setting the ice pack on the floor, he lifted the bottle, dabbing a cotton tipped swab in the solution. “He won’t touch you again. I’ll make sure of that.” She winced when he touched the swab to her cut and he apologized once more. “Sorry.”

He didn’t blame her for not talking; her lip and jaw probably hurt like a bitch, and beyond that, she was probably utterly terrified. “Um…I’m going to untie you and let you…fix yourself up in the washroom.” He stood, moving in behind her, and got busy untying the knots.

“There you go.” Leaving the ropes on the floor, he took hold of her arm to help her up. He could feel her body shaking. He led her to the adjoining washroom near the window, stopping by the door. “I’ll be waiting right here.”

She caught the warning and entered the tiny washroom, closing the door behind her. She took one look in the mirror and her legs nearly buckled. With shaky hands she quickly did up the buttons on her blouse. She’d nearly been raped.

Feeling ill, she bent over the toilet and vomited until she emptied herself. Standing, she washed her mouth, then sat down and relieved herself. If the big guy hadn’t come in when he had, she might have been—no, she would have been raped. She needed to get out of here, now. Looking around the tiny room, she threw the shower curtain open to see a tiny circular window that looked no bigger than her head. Damn it, so much for thinking she could escape from the bathroom.

She took a deep breath, gathering her strength, then pushed the door open. Seeing him waiting for her, she knew what she needed to do. With a quick lift of her leg, she kicked him hard in the gut, sending him stumbling backwards onto the bed. Dashing for the door, she yanked it open and let out a loud scream when he caught her around the waist. She wasn’t beat yet, so she kept kicking and flailing with her arms.

“Jesus,” he exclaimed as he tried to get a good hold on her. Wrapping his arms around hers, pinning them to her sides, he dragged her to the bed. It was then that he realized the ropes still lay by the chair. “Damn it.”

“Let me go.” Wiggling, trying to break free of his hold, she feared that now he, too, would take his turn with her. She saw the slimy bastard who attacked her enter the room and went completely still.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Get the ropes.”

Her body stiffened momentarily when he climbed on top of her. “No, leave me alone; let me go; let me go.” Liz grunted, fighting, trying to break his hold. The guy didn’t just look big, he was big, and muscular. He felt like a lead weight pinning her down.

“Want me to tie her up?”

“No, just give me the ropes and go.” He responded to Terry, then looked down at Liz with a thin smile. “Nice try, princess, you’ve got balls.”

Relieved when Betty Rubble left the room, Liz let out a long breath. Then she felt her arms yanked above her head. Her pulse raced and her heart thundered as Bart tied her hands to the posts. “What are you going to do to me?” Was he going to punish her for trying to get away? God, please, don’t let him hurt me.

“Tie you to the bed for one. Then I’m going to put some more ice on that lip.”

Her brow furrowed in confusion. “Are you for real?”

“Last time I looked.” He secured the knots, then lifted off of her to grab the ice.

“I just kicked you and tried to get away. I’d think you’d be pretty pissed at that.” What the hell is wrong with you, Liz? Stop egging him on!

“Oh, I am.” He laid the ice on her lip, his eyes meeting hers. “But I’m not going to smack you around for it. What the other guy tried to do to you, what he did do to you, I don’t condone that sort of thing.”

He was being serious, she could tell by the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes. “You’re a baffling man— what’s your name?” The bag of ice slid from her mouth as she spoke.

“Bart,” he said with a smile, lifting the bag, holding it against her mouth.

“Right.” How droll. “Then why are you doing this to me? Why not let me go?”

“I enjoy abuse,” he said comically, as though trying to lighten her mood.

“Yeah, well, I’ll be more than happy to give you all the abuse you like, Bart.” She emphasized his name, her eyes narrowing with just a hint of humor in them.

“Pretty hard to do that, tied to the bed. Let’s take a look at that lip.” Pulling the ice from her lip, he leaned in to get a better look.

When his finger touched her bottom lip, she felt her breath catch.

“We’ll just leave the ice on it a bit more.” He stood, inhaling sharply.

“Where are you going?”

“Getting the lights.”

“Why?” Her voice quivered.

“I told you, princess, I’m not like the other guy. It’s getting late.” He shut the light off and the only form of illumination came from the TV on the dresser.

“I really hate that name.” She watched as he moved to the TV and shut it off. The darkness filled the room and her heart began to hammer. She felt the darkness surround her, smothering her with its greedy fingers.

“Yeah, why is that?” Clicking on the washroom light, he closed the door so that only a sliver of light could be seen.

She focused on the light, however small, and reminded herself there was nothing in the dark that could harm her. “I’m not royalty for one. What are you doing?”

With the light knitted blanket in hand, he draped it over her legs. “Covering you up?”

“Why?”

“In case you’re cold during the night.” Grabbing a pillow from beside her, he saw her eyes as they watched his every move. “Do you snore, princess?”

Her teeth gnashed again to the silly nickname. “No, I most certainly do not snore.”

“We’ll see. Sleep tight now.” He carried the pillow to the arm chair in the corner beside the bed and tucked it behind his head as he sat down.

“You’re sleeping here?”

“Yep. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Rolling her eyes, she thought how childish that statement had been. She lay there tied to the bed fighting the sleep. She wanted to be on alert at all times, just to be safe, and every time he moved in the chair beside her, she waited, worrying, wondering. But inevitably sleep took hold and she dozed off.

Chapter 6

Her eyes shot open as the alarm clock buzzed beside her. “Shit.” Her heart hammering, she watched as he reached over and shut it off.

“’Morning.”

“It’s only six o’clock.” She yawned, her lip cracking and creating a ripple of burning pain. “Damn it.”

“I’m an early riser. Hmmm, you opened it up some last night. Hurt much?”

“No, it feels wonderful, you idiot.” She paused, shocked that she had said such a thing to him, and waited for any response, however brutal it might be.

“Well, someone’s not very chipper in the morning.”

She cocked her head to the side, baffled by his response.

“I guess I wouldn’t be too chipper either if my lip was killing me. I’ll clean it up for you, then grab some Advil for the pain.”

She watched in complete astonishment as he walked to the washroom—he wasn’t even disturbed with her? Okay, what’s up with this guy? She needed to test the waters. “You try sleeping with your arms tied to the bed and see how happy you are in the morning.”

He stepped from the washroom with a damp cloth, moving towards her. “I wasn’t exactly comfortable either, princess.”

Hmmm. “You could have slept in your bed. I didn’t have a choice as to how or where I slept.” She snarled her response, feeling rather brave now.

“Sweetie, you are in my bed.” Leaning over her, he dabbed the blood on her chin.

Her pulse fluttered beneath her skin and as her eyes lifted to meet his, it fluttered even more. Sweet God, what the hell was wrong with her? How could she be feeling arousal from this man holding her captive?

“Liz?”

“What?” She jumped, her response quick.

“I asked if I let you go to the washroom to clean your lip, do you promise not to kick me again?”

She told her pulse to slow down, calmed her rapid breathing and nodded. She couldn’t be feeling something for him, that was just…wrong.

“I can manage from here,” she insisted as he hoisted her to her feet, trying to pull her hands from his. Her pulse fluttered again, and it pissed her off.

“I’m sure you can.” But he helped her to the washroom just to be sure.

She closed the door in his face and turned to the mirror. Her face looked pale, her lip swollen and bloody, and her jaw hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. Her mind swirled with the arousal she felt being near him. She needed psychiatric help for lusting after her abductor. Splashing water on her face, washing her eyes, then carefully wiping her sore lip, she continued to think how idiotic it was to even think she could feel desire for him.

She did her business, ran her fingers through her hair trying to smooth it out as best she could without a brush, and opened the bathroom door. She saw Mac standing to the side, the ropes dangling in his hand. Her eyes lifted to his, then down to the ropes.

“Don’t even think about it.”

Making a break for it, she jutted to her right, then, faking him out, she bolted off to the left. She climbed over the bed, the blanket nearly tripping her up, then jumping off the bed, she ran for the door. She grabbed the door knob just as he came up behind her. She let out a squeal as he grabbed her left hand and pulled it behind her back, pinning her body to the door.

“Man, you just don’t give up.”

“Of course I’m not going to give up, you jackass. Do you think I’m just going to sit by and let you keep me tied up, for God sakes?” She jerked her body, trying to break free. He pinned her good and tight against the door. Her pulse began to flutter again, making her curse under her breath. When he reached in front of her to grab her right hand, she fought to keep him from taking it. Quicker than she was, he managed to grab it and pulled it behind her.

“And how did you expect to get out of here when the door is locked?”

“You didn’t lock it last night when you came up to bed.” He spun her around and pressed her against the door, holding her in place with his body. This time her pulse didn’t just flutter, it hammered.

“Fine, so you would have made it out the door, then what? You wouldn’t have gotten far, princess, with Betty Rubble keeping watch downstairs.”

“At this hour, only a crazy person would be awake.” She jerked her body once more, trying to get away from him. She felt pretty damn hot and it was getting very uncomfortable.

“Check it out, princess, you happen to be awake. Does that make you crazy?”

She knew she was panting but couldn’t control herself. Being so near to him was making her pulse throb and her chest ache with need. “I didn’t have a choice; your stupid alarm clock woke me.” She lifted her knee, ready to strike.

Faster than she, he blocked her attempt with his hand. “I like the mornings.”

“I like to sleep in.”

Lost for words, they stared into each other’s eyes, breathless. Moments passed before Mac shifted away, pulling her from the door. He didn’t say a word to her as he led her to the chair. Knowing what he had planned for her now, she refused to allow it to happen. When he pushed her down into the chair, she stood right back up.

“Get a grip.”

It shocked her when he lifted his leg and planted his knee on her chest. And when he leaned in closer to tie her up, she could smell his cologne, and it tickled her arousal. His hair beneath the mask brushed against her cheek as he bent near her ear to tie the ropes around her and it felt like satin. Turning her head, she saw the tufts of dark curly hair, and she nearly sighed.

“There, that should do it.”

Liz sat in her chair as he left the room, her chest rising and falling with each heavy breath she took. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” Letting her head fall back, she wasn’t quite sure what to think. The man abducted her and was holding her captive, for God sakes, and she lusted after him. She didn’t even know what he looked like, yet she wanted him. God, Liz, get a grip.

Coming to her senses, she realized she needed to get out, she just didn’t know how. She’d tried to make a break for it, twice, only to be dragged back. The window, it was still her best chance, and the brief glances the night before led her to believe it would be plenty big enough for her to squeeze through. All she needed to do is break free of the ropes and she was set.

Shifting her body, she ignored the burning sensation the ropes caused as they rubbed against her skin. There would be plenty of time to sooth them when she broke free.

~

Feeling more himself after the cold shower, Mac headed for the kitchen to make some breakfast. Seeing Terry sitting at the table eating a plate of fluffy eggs soured his mood. Saying nothing to him, he moved to the fridge, grabbing the butter and jam. Setting them on the counter, he was pleased to see the coffee ready. Pouring himself a cup, adding a spoon of sugar, he pulled out the toaster and added four slices of bread, pressing the lever down.

“He called last night.”

“What?” Mac turned sharply, the coffee in the cup sloshing over the rim to scald his fingers. Setting the cup on the counter, he put his fingers in his mouth. “Why didn’t you come get me?”

Terry shrugged, lifting his own coffee cup to his lips, taking a sip before speaking. “Didn’t want to disturb you.”

“I’m in charge, Terry, you should have called me to the phone.” He turned when the toast popped, annoyed. “What did he want?”

“He was checking in, making sure everything went smoothly. I told him everything went according to plan.”

He buttered the toast then slopped jam on it. “What else?”

“That’s it. Said he would be in touch.”

Great, Mac thought, he’d be in touch. He had the easy part, while Mac put everything on the line. Not like he had much of a choice now, did he, and the guy knew that. Rock and a hard place, that’s where he sat. Pouring another cup of coffee, he set both cups as well as the plate of toast on a tray then turned to the fridge and grabbed a bowl of strawberries, fresh from his own garden. “Tidy up for me while I’m upstairs okay.”

“I’m not your bitch, Mac.” Terry snarled into his cup.

“I didn’t make the eggs, and thank you for sharing by the way.”

“Whatever.”

Clenching his jaw, Mac carried the tray up the stairs, wishing he didn’t have to be stuck with the creep. But he’d had no choice in the matter, so he just had to put up with him.

Setting the tray on the floor, he pulled the key from his pocket, unlocked the door, then, pulling the mask from his back pocket, he slipped it over his head before opening the door. “Room service.”

Her head shifted in his direction and her eyes focused on the tray in his hand. “Cheap restaurant if you call that breakfast.”

“My, what a smart mouth we have, princess.” Smiling, he set the tray on the bed and moved in behind her. “Right handed, right?” The scent of her hair tickled his nose and stirred his pulse.

“Yes.”

Shaking it off, he untied her left hand then tied the right to the ropes around her body.

“I said I was right handed.”

“I know.” He took the plate of toast, lifted two pieces off the plate for himself, put a few strawberries beside hers then set the plate on her lap. “Here you go.”

Liz looked down at the food before her, then back up at Mac. “You must have broken a sweat cooking for me. You shouldn’t have.”

Ooh, he loved her sarcasm. “All the more reason for you to enjoy it.” He took a seat across from her, the tray on his lap with his toast and coffee.

“Where’s my cup?”

“Over there.” He motioned to the night stand, taking a bite of his toast.

She glanced to her left and saw the cup sitting there. “May I have it?”

“In time.”

Her eyes shifted to his as her left eyebrow shot up. “Now what could I possibly do with a cup of coffee, aside from drinking it?”

“You strike me as the inventive type; you’d find other uses for it.”

Her lip curled up but not enough to open the wound. “Like throwing it at you?”

“Bingo, princess.”

“Afraid of me, big guy?” She bit into a strawberry, licking the juices that trickled from her mouth.

He watched her tongue as it lapped up the juices and felt his loins tighten. “Wary.”

“Then why bring me a cup?”

His eyes were glued to the way she ate that luscious red juicy strawberry and the way her lips molded its form, the way her tongue lapped up the juices. “Why do you think it’s sitting over there and not in your hands right now?”

Smiling, she licked the strawberry juice from her fingers. “And you think giving me a cooled cup of coffee is any better?”

He imagined his fingers in her mouth. “Cool coffee doesn’t hurt as much.”

“Ever had a cup smashed over your head?”

Shaking his mind clear, his eyes lifted to hers. “See, now that is exactly why I’m guarded.” He stood now, knowing that if he didn’t leave the room soon, he wasn’t going to be able to. “Finished?”

“No.”

“Then no coffee.”

“Fine, I’m finished.” She’d give up the last pieces of the overly sweet toast and juicy strawberries for the coffee any day.

“Here you go.” Taking the plate, he set it on the tray with his coffee cup then walked to the door. “I’ll be right back.”

He closed the door behind him, locking it.

Kidnapped: Chapter 3


I hope everyone is enjoying my free chapters of Kidnapped. Just so you know, I am providing the entire book for you to read, chapter by chapter each week. I would love to hear some comments on how you are enjoying the book. I’ve decided to hold a contest. At some point in the next few weeks I will ask a question pertaining to the book. Everyone who answers in the comments section will have their name put into a draw and the winner will recieve a prize from my Cafe Press store.  http://www.cafepress.ca/shielasbooks

Now, on to Chapter 3 of Kidnapped.

Her stomach growled reminding her she hadn’t eaten anything since the poached egg and croissant for brunch. She had no idea of the time, but she guessed it to be late afternoon, maybe even close to the evening. She’d been working on loosening the ropes for hours now and her wrists felt pretty raw. Clueless to where her abductors were, Liz knew that at any moment, one of them could come up to check on her. So she needed to work fast.

She wasn’t going to wait around for them to get what they wanted from her father. She could hear birds chirping from somewhere behind her. Twisting her head, she tried to get a look at the window. Unable to see it clearly, she huffed.

The place didn’t look new but lived in. The walls were a light creamy color but looked as if they’d been painted that way a good long time ago. From her viewpoint she could see the door off to her left and a dresser off to her right. On top sat a TV no bigger than a microwave. How did a person watch something that small?

Wiggling, she tried to get the ropes to loosen. The heat made her sweat, her face and body growing damp from the exertion. The room was hotter than a sauna. Blowing air over her face, she longed for the cool, air-conditioned apartment she lived in. Her car, she suddenly remembered, still sat in the parking lot of the restaurant. Bonnie and Moira would see it still there, and wonder what it was doing there and why it was running. Surely they would have called the police by now. Maybe someone saw her being abducted and called the police?

She wouldn’t have to be rescued if it wasn’t for her father’s notoriety. She tugged the ropes in frustration. It had always been his fame, and she’d always been the victim of it. As far back as she could remember she had been hounded because of her father. As an infant, her parents paraded her for all to see, always dressed in the finest garments, her hair meticulously styled. She’d been sent to the finest boarding schools and spent more time there than at her home, her parents rarely having time for her. And as she matured, they insisted that she act like a lady and never do anything to sully that image, never to misbehave in public and always smile. God, there had been times she’d wanted to scream at the cameras that flashed at her from everywhere just to leave her be.

But they hadn’t, and as she had grown into a young woman, they had often caught her in the arms of her companions, writing nasty stuff about her being a lush. She had been photographed leaving a party, after having a tad bit too much to drink, and stumbling as she tried to walk to her friend’s car. She’d been labeled trouble from that day on, and so she had gone with it.

For years she listened to her father condemn her for not trying harder to be like him, for not accepting the roles he shifted to her, for wanting her to be someone she wasn’t. So she’d rebelled, and hard. Though she hadn’t touched drugs, she made good use of any bottle of alcohol handed to her. By the time she turned nineteen, she had developed a sour reputation and learned that no amount of alcohol could mask the pain she felt inside.

Under the guise of Stephanie Parsons, she fled to Paris, and to her utter relief, she hadn’t been followed. She’d drawn her hair up under a plain black wig of short hair, worn dark glasses and frumpy clothing. She hadn’t looked anything like herself, and it made her feel free for the first time in her life.

Until Jacques.

He entered her life, sweeping her off her feet and showed her the attention she so craved. There hadn’t been any clues to lead her to believe he was married. In the five months they were together, she never suspected him of having a wife or two young children. She might never have known if she hadn’t been window shopping and seen the tabloid, with her and Jacques in a heated embrace. The caption had read, ‘Mistress breaks up happy family’. She bought the paper, read the story and had been devastated.

Catching the very next fight, she left Paris with the paparazzi hot on her trail, and they hadn’t let up for months after the incident. Her father had been furious. Fed up with her antics, humiliating him in the public eye, he’d locked her in her room for two days. If it hadn’t been for their cook, Millie, she might have gone a little insane. Not only had Millie snuck her food, but came to her at night to talk. The woman had been Liz’s confidant and she’d been the one who’d told Liz she needed to make some choices in her life, choices that would allow the true Liz to come out.

But who the real Liz was, not even she knew. So she’d tried different things. The fundraisers her father insisted she do didn’t interest her; school didn’t look appealing, so she’d struck college from her list. She had no talent whatsoever to fall back on, though she’d been told by her acting coach that he saw potential. But she didn’t want to act; it was the last thing she wanted.

Then, visiting a sick friend in the hospital, she’d stumbled onto the wrong floor. The sweetest little girl she’d ever seen approached her, asking her shyly to help her find her room. Her face had been pale against a dark head of brown thinning hair. Her brown eyes were hollow with dark circles beneath the lashes and as she lifted her arm to rub her nose, Liz saw how thin she truly was. Taking the child’s hand, she led her to the nurse’s station for assistance in finding her room. It was then she learned the child had terminal cancer.

When she helped her to her room, Liz saw the many faces of the children, sick with one disease or another, looking lost and lonely. She’d realized then what she wanted to do. She wanted to help the children. So she began volunteering at the hospital, reading to them or watching movies together. Once a week, she brought people in, and gave all the girls a make over. They loved those days the most. And while the girls received pampering, Liz played video games with the boys and was getting pretty damn good at it.

Today was her day off from volunteering, and she wished desperately that she hadn’t listened to her father and gone out for brunch with Bonnie and Moira. She wouldn’t be sitting here, tied to a rock hard chair, being held by two men with God knew what on their minds to do with her

Sighing, she worked on the ropes once more, wondering what the children would do without her if she didn’t break free soon.

She heard the sound of boots on the stairs and once again her body tensed. When the door opened, she didn’t know what to expect.

“Chow time, princess.”

Her teeth gnashed together at the way he called her that silly nickname. Then she saw the plate in his hand and all thoughts vanished to her hunger. “You’re feeding me?”

“Well it’s not the finest cuisine, which I am sure you are used to, but it’ll serve its purpose.” Setting the plate on the nightstand, he moved in behind her and loosened the ropes on her hands. “There you go.”

She pulled her hands to the front of her, gave her wrists a rub and noticed the dark red rings forming on her skin.

“Bon appetit.”

She took the plate he offered and saw the plain sandwich. Lifting the top piece of bread, she saw there hadn’t been much effort in constructing this sandwich. One piece of ham, processed no less, and a glop of mustard. How appetizing.

“You’re welcome,” he said snidely as he pulled up another chair from the corner of the room by the window.

Her lip curled as she swallowed the bland sandwich. “Thank you,” she replied without a hint of the disdain she felt towards him.

Grabbing the TV remote on the bedside table, he clicked the TV on and began strolling through the channels. “How’s the sandwich?”

“Fine.” Dry, lacking in taste, and whole wheat bread would have been better, she thought snidely. “Have you contacted my father yet?” Nibbling on her sandwich, Liz examined the man before her. His chest was broad, the shirt he wore stretching to accommodate the muscles. His hair curled in black strands over the bottom of the mask. He had wide arms and big hands, long legs and big feet clad in dirty work boots. From the looks of him, he wasn’t the sort you tussled with if you wanted to win.

“You don’t need to concern yourself with such trivial matters, princess.”

“Stop calling me that,” she blurted out and instantly her eyes lifted with worry.

“I think it’s suited to you.” He pulled out a cigarette and casually lit it up while Liz picked her sandwich apart.

“Why, because I have money?” Good God, she’d lost her mind. He looked big enough to crush her with his bare hands and she boldly argued with him.

“There’s that, plus the high and mighty attitude you exude.”

She bit her tongue, preventing the many retorts that came to mind. The last thing she needed to do is piss off her abductor. “May I have something to drink?”

Without a word, he walked to the bathroom, dropped his cigarette in the toilet then taking a paper cup from the container on the wall he filled it with water. “Here you go.”

Her eyes shifted to the paper cup and the water inside of it, and she cringed. “Thank you.” Taking it, she sipped the tepid water, despising him even more.

“Finished eating?”

“Yes, I am.” Ready to use the plate to smash him in the face, she huffed when he scooped it from her lap and placed it on the floor before she could act. If she couldn’t use the plate, there were other means of defense. Curling her hand into a tight fist, she smashed it into his jaw and instantly regretted it.

Shaking her throbbing fist, Liz feared her attempt to knock him out would be the end of her. The guy’s jaw was like rock, and when he grabbed her hands, she expected he would retaliate. When all he did was tie her back up, she stared at him with complete surprise.

“You’ll have to hit me a hell of a lot harder than that, princess, to knock me out.”

She watched as he carried the plate to the door, closing it and locking her in as he left. It baffled her that he hadn’t done anything to her for her acting out. Surely the other guy would have smacked her back, yet this one hadn’t even seemed fazed.

Hmmm, she wondered, and started working again on the ropes to break free.

Shiela Stewart
www.shielasbooks.ca

Spring Fever


It’s April now. Easter has gone by, and the weather has turned warmer, at least here in Massachusetts, where we’re expecting eighty-degree temperatures today.

Oops, sorry, got sidetracked… I didn’t mean to turn this into a weather report.

As I was saying, it’s April now. The first official day of spring is sometime in March, but to me it never quite feels like spring until the weather is warmer, flowers start to bloom, and I can see little buds on the trees. Which I can now, thanks to a whole lotta rain followed by warm weather, so I guess I can say it’s spring now.

Spring, traditionally the season of spring fever, falling in love, weddings, all that stuff. I guess this year I’m feeding into that, since my own wedding is now a week and a half away. Still, I have to wonder a bit why that became the tradition, and whether I should break it in my writing.

I don’t like doing things the way “everyone does it.” For a long time growing up, I tried to fit in with everyone else and failed miserably, so I learned to embrace not fitting in. Not that I try to be way out there. I just don’t worry too much if what I’m doing, saying, writing, etc. doesn’t match what everyone else is doing.

So even though weddings traditionally happen in spring or summer, and in fact my publisher Pink Petal Books will be holding a wedding promotion during May and June to celebrate that (details will be available on their website, but I’ll tell you it’ll involve new stories from some of your favorite PPB authors, myself included), I’d kind of like to write a wedding that happens in the dead of winter. Or fall. One in which the bride wears a nice blue evening gown and the groom wears his most comfortable clothes. Just because I’m the writer, and I can do that.

Yes, as I mentioned, my own wedding will be a spring event, so in real life I’m going along with tradition. There are a few reasons for that. When my fiance proposed, back in September, I was waiting for very necessary surgery and feeling like crud most of the time. Obviously that wasn’t the time to think about getting married. He decided he wanted an actual ceremony with guests and stuff, and since this is his first–and only!–wedding, I capitulated, which meant we needed time to plan. During the winter, money’s tighter for us since his job is seasonal, though he does get paid a year-round salary. He just earns extras during the season. And since his job is seasonal, he wouldn’t have been able to take time off for our honeymoon between May 1 and October. He didn’t want to wait till next fall, so here we are, getting married in April.

If I ever write about it, though, I think I’ll make it a nice January wedding. Something to break up the doldrums of winter. And even though in real life I’m wearing a white wedding gown and he’s wearing a tux, I think if Iwrite about it, I’ll write myself wearing that blue evening gown I mentioned and him wearing the clothes he wears when we go dancing, which are way sexier than any tux.

I think probably spring has become the time “when a young man’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love” or whatever that quote is, when new relationships form and weddings happen, because spring is considered a time of new beginnings. Plants wake up after slumbering for the winter, hibernating animals come out of their hidey-holes, and so on. So it does make sense that spring is thought of that way.

Which doesn’t mean I’m going to write it that way.

Have a Romantic Easter


Since Easter is this coming weekend, I thought I would do a post about romance at Easter time. Now, most people think the only romantic holiday is Valentine’s Day but that’s not entirely true. Think about it. All that chocolate? What woman doesn’t love chocolate and it can be very romantic and sexy if used the right way. 😉

But there are other ways to make this holiday a romantic one and I’m going to share them with you now. Plus, as an added bonus, I’ve found the top ten ways to propose using Easter as a theme. I love some of these ideas and I hope you all get a kick out of them as well.


  1. Easter Egg Hunt.
    Setup the hunt the night before. If you have kids, you may want to do the hunt in your bedroom. Fill the eggs with love notes, chocolates, and a few small romantic gifts. Jewelry is always nice.
  2. Egg-stra Special Love Notes.
    Wrap paper messages around chocolate eggs with ‘egg’ quotes such as: “You are egg-stra special to me”, “You egg-cite me!”, or “You’re an egg-stremely great wife/husband.”
  3. Dye Easter Eggs.
    If you like boiled eggs (or even if you don’t), dye Easter Eggs together. This is a fun activity that even adults can enjoy! If you get a white crayon, take the time to write romantic love messages on the eggs before you dye them. As you dye them, the messages will magically appear!
  4. Easter Lilies
    Surprise her with a room filled with potted Easter Lillies. They’re gorgeous, in bloom, and easy to care for. Make sure to add a card letting her know that your love is a pure as the white fragrant blooms.
  5. Easter Love Coupons.
    Fill those plastic Easter Eggs with bunches of love coupons for your partner to redeem during the remainder of April.
  6. Easter Egg Time Capsule.
    Create your own Easter memories. Each year, fill a plastic Easter Egg (you may want to buy the larger novelty ones) with notes and mementos of your relationship for the past year. Or, use your Easter Egg time capsule to record your feelings for your partner on that particular day. Each year, look back on your previous notes and include a new one.
  7. Aphrodisiac Easter Basket.
    Fill an Easter Basket completely full of various chocolates. You may want to include a few sexy love notes with suggestions for the night to come.
  8. Sexy Easter Basket.
    Most definitely not a basket for kids. Fill an Easter Basket full of sexy gifts such as massage oils, an intimate game, or edible underwear(yes, they make them in chocolate). You’ll definitely be hopping in the bedroom tonight.
  9. Easter Picnic
    This is a common suggestion, but not many couples actually take advantage of it! Pack a picnic lunch with Easter traditional’s like ham, plus a bottle of wine. Head out to your local park, snag a shady spot under a tree and prepare yourself for an afternoon of romance.

10. Easter Proposal.
Thinking about popping the question? Why not make it a romantic Easter proposal? Sure, you don’t usually think Easter when you think of proposals, but there are many creative and romantic Easter ideas for proposing marriage.


Here is a list of Top ten ways to propose on Easter.

1: Take her on an Easter Egg Hunt. You call fill plastic eggs with clues to the final egg that holds the ring or you can just hide several eggs with candy and one with the ring. When she finds the egg that contains the ring, get down on one knee and propose.

2: Give her an Easter basket with the ring in one of the eggs. Similar to the egg hunt, but without the hunt. When she opens the egg with the ring, get down on one knee and ask her to marry you.

3: Write the words “Will you marry me” each on a separate egg and make her find them. When she’s collected all of the eggs and read your message, get down on one knee and ask for her hand in marriage.

4: Write the words “Will you marry me?” on a boiled egg with a white crayon. When you dye eggs together, your message will appear on the special egg!

5: Give her a hollowed chocolate bunny. Break a small hole into one of the corners and slip the ring inside for the surprise of a lifetime.

6: Give her a stuffed Easter bunny with the ring tied around it’s neck with a ribbon. When she notices the ring, ask her to give you the honor of her hand in marriage.

7: Take her to your local mall and have a photo of the two of you taken with the Easter Bunny. While the photo is being taken, get down on one knee and propose. You’ll have a great photo of the special day and she’ll be completely surprised.

8: Give her a small basket filled with small egg shaped chocolates. Put the ring around one of the small eggs for her to find as she’s eating her sweet treats. When she finds it, tell her that she’s sweeter than candy and ask for her hand in marriage.

9: Take her out for Easter brunch and have the waiter bring the ring out as a surprise. When the waiter brings the ring out, get down on one knee and propose.

10: Make Jello Jigglers in the shape of Easter eggs (you can order a mold from the Jello website) and put the ring in one of the Jigglers.

Happy Easter everyone. May it be a romantic one. 🙂

Shiela Stewart
www.shielasbooks.ca

Commitment Isn’t Romantic?


I’m actually looking for opinions on this one. I see a lot of romance stories where the hero and heroine meet, overcome whatever obstacles are in their way, and live happily, either ever after or for now. That’s pretty much the definition of a romance, as far as I can tell.

But… why can’t a romance involve a couple that’s committed to each other before the story begins? I know of one romance publisher which actually specifies in their guidelines that the hero and heroine can’t be married to each other at the beginning of the story. Why not?

I’m really curious about this one. I like the romantic, meeting for the first time, falling in love types of stories, don’t get me wrong. But I also like stories about couples who are already in love, have already committed to each other, and share their lives. I’ve written stories like that. There are obstacles, of course; in my novella Beginner’s Luck, Kyla’s still working on overcoming her trust issues, even though her boyfriend Alec has earned her trust. In my freebie (it’s posted on my site) “Little Black Dress,” Sophie’s having a hard time feeling like a “real woman” after a hysterectomy, and her husband helps her work through it. And in my short “A Little Tied Up”, coming out in March, Nolie and Joseph are happily married, but are just a wee bit bored with one another.

Committed couples still have obstacles in their lives, whether their love lives, sex lives, or some combination. And to me, a man who buys his wife a new dress to help her feel beautiful after surgery is just as romantic as a man who buys the woman he’s just begun dating flowers to make her feel special. Maybe even more romantic, because I think it can be more difficult to keep the romance going in a long-term relationship than in the first blush of infatuation and love.

So what do you think? As a reader, do stories with committed couples appeal to you, or do you prefer to read the stories that show the hero and heroine meeting and falling in love for the first time? As an author, which do you prefer writing?

Personally, I do love the stories that show the development of a new romance. But I also like the stories that show the hero and heroine (or heroes, as the case may be) falling in love with each other all over again after years together, or working to keep their love fresh and romantic. To me, that’s part of romance, and part of life.

Sensual Romance Verses Erotic Romance (This blog is intended for readers 18 and older. Strong language.)


     What is the difference you ask? Well, there is a fine line that can be drawn between the two. It’s not just about the sex and the way it is presented because both types of romances write it and write it well. The biggest difference I see is what drives the story line. Romance thrives on love and erotica thrives on sex. You take a romance minus love it’s no longer a romance. You take an erotic romance minus the sex it’s no longer an erotic romance. Let’s talk about what makes these two writing styles so different and the things that can cross over to make them similar.

     The dictation between sensual romance and erotic romance are two very different types of words. Sensual romance in many cases uses the tame terminology romance has used since the beginning. Tame meaning euphemisms. Euphemisms-The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive.  Here are a few examples of words used in romance to describe a sex scene. (cock, center, sheath, thrusting, pumping, bundle of nerves)

     Now let’s talk about the erotic romance. Erotic romance takes the words people use today and waves them proudly for all to see. Modern/urban colloquial terms are the cornerstone of erotic romance. Colloquial- characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal. Here are a few examples of words used in erotic romance to describe a sex scene. (Cock, dick, cunt, pussy, twat, fucking)

     There is a wide range between the two. Sensual romance tries to stay on the subtle side while erotic romance tends to go full force, no holds barred. Sensual romance is the equivalent of an R rating, while erotic romance is the equivalent of an X rating.

     Let’s talk about what makes a good sensual romance novel. The pieces that must be there in order for a reader to walk away saddened that they reached the end. Plot and characterization are key, in a great sensual romance. You want the reader to believe in your characters and their situations. If they don’t the whole novel is a lost cause. The reader needs to believe these people could actually fall in love. You can’t have a romance without LOVE. Love is the backbone of every good romance. Without love it’s no longer a romance. You can have a romance novel with no sex but you can’t have one with no love. In romance the relationship drives the story. It’s all about the happily ever after when writing or reading romance.

    Now let’s talk about what makes a good erotic romance. Even though sex is a key factor in erotic romance and you can’t have erotica without it. The sex isn’t just about adding as many hot, juicy, steamy scenes as you can. You have to think about the big picture. What about the characters? Is the sex true to the characters you created? Does it make sense for them to be having sex? You can’t take the sex lightly. In an erotic novel, you have to be serious about the sex. A good erotic novel should highlight the characters sexual journey. The idea of journey assumes character growth, movement, and the progress the characters make in the story. Ideally the sex will take the reader somewhere and move things along in the story. “Why the heck are they having sex again?” That isn’t good in an erotic novel.

     Here are some publishers of romance and erotic romance:

     Publishers of Sensual Romance

       Harlequin Presents

     Silhouette Desire

     Pocket Books

     Leisure Lovespell

     Publishers of Erotic Romance

     Wild Rose-Scarlet Rose

     Siren Publishing

     Amber Quill-Amber Heat

     Red Sage Publishing

     I think both take a lot of effort to write. They should both be treated with respect because these stories come to life in an authors mind. Writing in any form is an art. I think it all come down to your comfort level and what you are willing to accept. I love reading a wide range of genres whether they are sweet or hot and steamy . They all have a place in the publishing industry. I hope you all enjoyed my take on sensual romance versus erotic romance. You never know, if you’ve never read one, try it you might like it. I will close with what some fellow authors had to say bout this topic.

    I think the difference between erotic romance and traditional romance (aside from the obvious erotic like GBLT/BDSM) is that in an erotic romance the sex cannot be omitted. It is a major driving force between the main characters.
April Dawn

    The purpose of romance is to touch the reader’s heart and stir emotions. The purpose of erotica is to create sexual feelings in the reader; to turn them on.

Connie Chastain

Tabitha Blake

Symbols of Love


I figured last week I gave you a history of Valentine’s Day, so this week I will give you some history on the symbols that pop into our heads when we think of Valentine’s Day. You know the classic heart, cupid and a few others.

Cupid

Cupid is the Roman God of Love and the most popular symbol for Valentine’s Day. Originally he was shown as a young man with a bow and arrow. But over the years Cupid went from a handsome man to a pudgy baby? The reason is the Romans claimed Cupid was the son of Venus (Goddess of Love and Beauty) and a symbol of passion. His arrows were invisible and his victims wouldn’t be aware they were shot till they fell in love. But the Victorian era wanted to make Valentine’s Day more proper for women and children. So Cupid went from an Adonis to a chubby baby. He went from R-Rated to PG-Rated.

Colors of Valentine’s Day

The classic colors of Valentine’s Day are Pink, Red and White for most cards and decorations. There is meaning behind each color.

Red symbolizes warmth and feeling. It is associated with the color of the human heart.

White Symbolizes purity. In some cases it also symbolizes faith. So it means the faith of the love two people have for each other.

Pink Is a combination of Red and White. It symbolizes innocents and virginity.

Hearts and Arrows

 A heart Red or Pink with an arrow piercing through it is the most common shape and look for Valentine’s Day. The heart is a symbol of both Love and vulnerability. When you send someone a Valentine you take the risk of being rejected and your feelings hurt.

So the piercing arrow is a symbol of death and the vulnerability of love. On the other hand, the heart and arrow also symbolize the merging of the male and female.

Roses

Flowers were considered love tokens before there even was a St. Valentines. The Roman God, Bacchus (God of Wine and Joy) and Venus (Goddess of Love and Beauty) both considered the beauty and fragrance of flowers to be tied with love and romance. The Roman myth is that Cupid was carrying a vase of sweet nectar to the Gods on Mt. Olympus and spilled it on the ground. From that spot of sweet nectar the roses grew.

Rose Colors and Their Meanings

 Red

Love and Beauty, Romantic Love, Passion

Red Single

“I Love You”

White

Purity, Innocence

Pink

Perfect Happiness

Light Pink

Gentleness, Grace, Joy

Yellow

“I Care”

Yellow with Red Tip

Falling in Love

Orange

Desire

Red and White

Given together, these signify Unity.

Coral

Desire

 Lavender

Love at First Sight

But if roses are so symbolic of romance and love, then why the thorns? One story goes like this. The soft west wind Sephyr one day opened a lovely rose and Cupid bent over to kiss the elegant petals. When he did, he was stung by a bee hiding inside the flower. Venus got so angry she told Cupid to shoot some bees and string them on one of his arrows. She then planted this string of dead bees on the rose, and the string became the rose’s thorns. Rose have had thorns ever since.

Other Flowers and Their Meanings

 Bleeding Heart

Hopeless but not heartless

Gardenia

I love you secretly

 Gladiolas

You pierce my heart

 Lily of the Valley

Let us make up

 Sweet William

You are gallant, suave and perfect

 Violet

I return your love

 Green Leaves

Represent hope in a love affair

Valentine Lace

For thousands of years, certain pretty things have been associated with romance. In the days of old, knights often rode into battle with his lady love’s scarf or ribbon tied somewhere on him. Lace because of its delicate nature, has come to represent something lovely to look at and was connected with romance. You will find lace on many different kinds of clothing but the most common place you will find it is on a wedding dress or ladies lingerie. Lace is the most romantic and sexy material there is.

Did You Know?

Researchers have found when we fall in love a chemical called phenylamine is produced. This chemical is responsible for that erratic love high we all feel. When it flows through our veins we get the same rush you get when you are on amphetamines. A pheromone called androstenol is also released which heightens our sexual attraction. Talk about being addicted to love. Now we know why we love the feeling of being in love. It’s a rush of these chemicals that give you the euphoric feeling.

Chocolate

Believe it or not. Chocolate contains the same chemical as mentioned above, phenyethlamine. Many psychologists feel that chocolate is an instant “Love Booster.” With some people both chocolate and love can be addictive. Giving chocolate to someone we care about is a good way to get those chemicals to start to flowing. As with any drug the phenyethlamine will wear off if it’s not naturally produced due to emotions.

Romance is amazing, it has been around forever and its still going strong. Men and women have been romancing each other since time began. Whether it is flowers and candy or a hand written poem. The response is all the same the chemical rush takes over and you are swept away. The key to a good relationship I feel is romance. Romance each other and everything else just falls into place. Hope you enjoyed Symbols of Love. Join me next week for The Most Romantic Places on the Planet.

Tabitha Blake