Happy New Year from Evernight!
Now that the Christmas cookies are gone, gifts unwrapped, and your holiday visitors have left, you’ve earned some well-deserved TLC. Evernight authors not only have the cure for your holiday hangover, they have fantastic new books for your 2015 reading list, too!
Be sure to visit every stop on the hop and answer each question. The more you blogs you hop, the more chances to win the GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini sponsored by Evernight Publishing (one entry per blog). Plus, hop each blog for a host of other fabulous prizes. Read on for my special prize offer, exclusively from the Jean Journal.
I’ve always felt that the month of January had no redeeming qualities; it’s 31 days long, no holidays except for the very first day, (during which we’re mostly hung over) and in my area, generally COLD AS HELL. So here at the Jean Journal, we’re going to create our own month — and celebrate JEANUARY and the New Year by applauding all things NEW and BLUE!
So sink into your favorite chair and enjoy your holiday hangover!
NEW and BLUE:
Here’s two excerpts from two new Works-In-Progress. Take note — you’re reading NEVER BEFORE SEEN material — so enjoy, and read carefully, ‘cuz you’ll have to answer questions later!
It’s been a long time coming, but Spanish Seduction 3 is on the horizon! Here, we reach back into time and examine the romance between Zara’s mom and dad.
She had no need for lights; she knew the villa by heart. In a corner of the kitchen stood a large water cauldron. As she plunged the dipper into the cool liquid, the overhead light snapped to life. Blinking against the sudden brightness, Marlena spilled a bit of water onto the floor. She looked up to see their mysterious houseguest standing before her with one finger on the light switch.
“Lo siento,” he said, his voice rough with sleep. “I…I came for some water.” He gestured toward her as she stood by the cauldron. “I see you’ve beaten me to it.”
Marlena eyed him up and down. His bushy blond hair framed his face and he looked much younger this way with unkempt curls dipping forward into his eyes. He wore jeans but no shirt. She guessed he slept in the nude, only donning his pants when he came in search of water.
Suddenly she became aware of her own attire. A round-collared nightgown with ruffles at the neck and a hem that reached barely to her knees. She dropped the water dipper to cover her front with both arms.
Tristan blinked and lowered his eyes. “Lo siento,” he repeated. “I would still like some water. Do you mind?” He edged nearer to the water cauldron and to her.
Marlena moved aside, but continued to stare at him. He lifted the dipper and offered it to her first. She turned to retrieve two glasses from a nearby shelf and handed one to him. He took it, then motioned to fill her glass first. She held it out with one hand while keeping her other arm folded across her chest. When both glasses were filled, they drank. After a few sips, Marlena licked her lips and watched him swallow the rest of his water. Her curiosity rose to the surface, emboldened by the absence of prying eyes. “Why are you here?” she asked.
Tristan finished his drink and regarded her with an unreadable expression. “To inquire about your aunt and her baby. You’ve taken good care of them. Something I couldn’t have done.”
Unconvinced, Marlena felt her mouth twitch. “What happened to her? Tell me the truth. Why were you involved? Did you hurt her?” Tristan’s eyes opened wider. He seemed taken aback at her pointed questions. “Did you rape her? Is Jorge your son? Is that why you came here? To see if he lived and ease your conscience?” She hadn’t meant to become angry, but the more she spoke, the more she realized she wanted to know. To know if he was a sinvergüenza – a scoundrel.
“No,” he said, his eyes hardening. “I helped her. I saved her. I never touched her.”
“Then who did? She won’t say; she is too ashamed. Tell me, or my mother will hear about you spying on me. You’ll be sent away before daylight.”
Tristan set his glass down. “He was a good man, an honorable man. But he’s dead.”
Marlena winced at this but kept silent, prompting him to say more. “He loved her. I swear that he did.” Tristan shook his head as though uncomfortable with retelling the story. “He owned the hotel – El Mirador – he gave her a job dancing there. For entertainment. It caught fire and was destroyed. Himself along with it. He knew she was pregnant with his child. I saved her. I saved them both.”
“Why?” she persisted. “Were you not in danger, too?”
“He was my friend.” Tristan shrugged. “I have no other reason.”
Marlena softened her gaze. His words resonated with honesty. He was not a brute. Not the one who hurt Marcela. Perhaps he might be just as he appeared, she thought, and somehow this made her glad.
“You don’t like me, do you?” he said. His abrupt statement felled her warming thoughts toward him. She’d begun to like him, and the idea that he thought otherwise made her uneasy. It wouldn’t do to become enemies. He might be useful.
“I did not say that,” she answered, lowering her arms to her sides. She hadn’t considered whether he liked her or not. It would be better if he did, she realized. Perhaps her thin nightgown was serendipitous.
He looked at her with a new interest, his eyes traveling up and down her lightly concealed figure. She took a step closer. “Have you ever been to Madrid?” she ventured.
Tristan stood his ground. “Yes.”
“Can you take me there?”
“I don’t understand.”
“I want to leave here. Go to modeling school in Madrid. I’ll never get there by staying here, living this kind of life. Can you take me?”
“I don’t have a car. I hitched a ride most of the way here.”
“You drove a truck before. What happened to it?”
“It wasn’t mine. I borrowed it.”
“You can drive. All we need is a vehicle.”
Tristan stepped away, in the direction of the exit. “I think we shouldn’t have this conversation. At least not until morning.”
Marlena bit her lip. She might lose her nerve by morning. A strange insanity began to fill her brain, borne of desperation and the heat of the moment. She raised a hand to slip off one shoulder of her nightgown, and cupped her breast with the other. “Do you like what you see?” she asked, her words a breathy whisper.
Tristan shook his head and backed farther away.
“No?” she asked.
“No,” he said. “I mean, yes; I like what I see. I’ve seen you in my dreams since the day we met. But this is not right. You don’t need to do this. Please go back to bed. Goodnight.”
She stood alone in the kitchen after he’d left. She felt sick. Sick at what had come over her to expose herself in this way. Sick that he’d rejected what she’d offered. She wasn’t sure herself exactly what she was offering. Sick that she’d blown perhaps her only chance to escape her small life.
Another story very dear to my heart is nearing completion! Two musicians, and long-ago lovers, discover each other again later in life. In keeping with our winter theme, please enjoy the following portion of Overtures Book 1 – Winter Symphony.
Jenna pushed his shoulders back so that he reclined on the couch, his head lying on the armrest. She tossed the back cushions onto the floor in front of the fire, and leaned toward him. Her lips were close to his now, grazing them in the gentlest of touches. The smell of the wood smoke wafted across to them, the flames’ warmth heating their skin. Staring into his eyes, she whispered, “I’m gonna rock your world so hard.” Her voice trailed off as she pressed her lips to his. He could see the flickering firelight reflected in her pupils, dilated in the dim light of the cabin. He knew he wouldn’t say no to her; not now, not ever. He returned her kiss, gently at first, but within seconds, their lips recognized each other with full clarity of who they were, where they had been, and where they were going. Their tongues explored each other’s mouths, hungrily giving in to sensation and desire. She was on top of him on the couch, still kissing him while undoing the buttons on his shirt. Brandon let himself relax, allowing her to proceed as she wished. This was her show, let her take the baton, he thought. She slipped her hand inside the shirt, caressing his chest and reacquainting herself with every inch of his body.
Breaking away from his lips, Jenna pushed herself upright, straddling him while finishing off the buttons, pulling the shirt tails out from his jeans and stroking the full length of his torso with both hands. She took her time, admiring what she saw, touching his warm skin, his chest hairs sliding between her fingers. He watched her face, and the mysterious smile on it. She glanced into his eyes every other blink. He could feel the rush of blood making its way to his loins, right about where she was sitting on him. Thank God, everything was in working order, his mind said.
It seemed she could feel it, too. Her hands stopped moving over him, and reached for her own shirt, slowly undoing the buttons, never breaking eye contact with him. Peeling the shirt back, she revealed a lacy black bra that showed off the attractive cleavage of her mature breasts. Brandon bit his lip, staring at her, thinking how lovely she had remained over the long-lost years; and at the same time feeling those years rewind.
She reached for the front clasp of the bra, twisting it open and baring herself just for him. She dropped the bra to the floor, and began to work on his jean buttons. His erection was rock-hard now, something he hadn’t felt in a while. He reached up and took her breasts in both hands, feeling their weight, brushing the nipples with his thumbs as they tensed with arousal. She leaned down to him, and he slipped his arms behind her back, pulling her close, and rolled them both onto the cushions on the floor.
She screamed in surprise and he took her breasts into his mouth, alternately licking, sucking and biting on the nipples, and working on undoing her jeans with one hand. Jenna arched her back, eager to wriggle free of her pants, and pushing his waistband down past his hips at the same time. When they had rid themselves of their clothing, they kissed again, their hands roving over one another as if in a quick review of each other’s physical landscape. Not unlike the way they would have studied a long-forgotten piece of music manuscript.
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