Friday, November 30, 2012

Sale ends at midnight!

Just a reminder, get your copies of Diana's books on sale now. This is the last sale of the year, so take advantage of the lower prices tonight!


Here are the titles on sale 

....by Diana Hunter:

Tied to Home – 25% off – use the code: HM77G

Shooting Star – 25% off – use the code: TB47U

A Night to Remember – 25% off – use the code: QC72K

Table for Four – 25% off – use the code: MS47J

Learning Curve – 25% off – use the code: WE64S

...by CF Duprey:

Hardship and Hardtack – 25% off – use the code: FD86P

...by Mystic Shade

Yours to Command – 25% off – use the code: RK73S

Don't forget to go to the website of your choice and write a quick review!

Play safe, 
Diana

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick prompts

With so many sales going on (seven of my books are on sale this week for 25% off. Click here for details!), today's writing prompts center around retail. Choose one of the prompts below, throw some spaghetti and see what sticks!

Two people standing outside a big-box store of your choice. Its 2:00 in the morning and the store doesn't open until 6:00 AM, but when it does, it'll have fantastic deals on electronic devices. The line is already twenty people in line and your characters are first and second in the queue. Another person comes along and strikes up a conversation with your two characters, who slowly realize this person intends to cut in line.

Your protagonist is a cashier in a busy, locally-owned store. He/she has a long line of customers when the customer at hand complains about the price of an object. What happens when the person behind the complainer in line decides to take matters into his/her own hands?

Your protagonist is a salesclerk at an upscale department store who sees a man walk into the ladies fitting room. You finally get the courage up to go speak to him and toss him out when he emerges -- as a woman.

Have fun with these! Remember, prompts have a couple of different purposes, so play around and see what happens.

And I meant what I said above - I really do have seven titles on sale until Friday. Take a look.

Diana









Friday, November 23, 2012

Sale on Diana's books

Seven of Diana’s titles at 25% off, now through Saturday, December 1st!

Use the coupon codes below at Smashwords, where you can choose your format. Got a Kindle? No problem! A Nook, Nexus, Ipad? Easy!

Just click on the title, go to the site, enter the code and voila! The book is instantly downloadable.

(See why I don’t write copy for advertising agencies? I should leave the hyperbole to the pros. My copy uses too many !!!! And, I figured, why only a one-day sale when most of us have to work on Monday? It would be far more fun to have a whole week – and a day.)

Here are the titles on sale by Diana Hunter:

Tied to Home – 25% off – use the code: HM77G

Shooting Star – 25% off – use the code: TB47U

A Night to Remember – 25% off – use the code: QC72K

Table for Four – 25% off – use the code: MS47J

Learning Curve – 25% off – use the code: WE64S

...by CF Duprey:

Hardship and Hardtack – 25% off – use the code: FD86P

...by Mystic Shade

Yours to Command – 25% off – use the code: RK73S

Play safe!
Diana

PS. If any of you then want to go to a site of your choice and put up a review, that would be wonderful! Honest reviews only, please. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

And, in honor of giving thanks to those who mean a lot to me, look for a sale on my books coming on Cyber Monday!

In the meantime, be safe, enjoy those around you, and thank you.

Diana

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We're starting right out with the activity today. Settle back and keep reading, because this is a mental exercise that will tax your brain.

First, look to the far left corner of the room. In that corner stands a nun with a basketball. She's wearing her full habit, holding the basketball in her hands.

Got it? Say it out loud. "There's a nun in the corner and she's holding a basketball in her hands." Picture it in your mind. Say it out loud again.

Next to her is a professional basketball player saying, "Come on, Sister, put me in. Let me take your place."

Repeat that. Repeat them both. Cement those images in your head. Once you have them, continue.

Directly in front of you (out the window if you have one there) is an herb. It's blowing in the wind and is surrounded by a chain link fence.

I know, you think I'm crazy. Trust me. Get the image in your head.

Herb. Blowing in the wind. Surrounded by a chain link fence.

What was in the corner? Who is standing next to her? What's directly in front of you? Repeat them until they're firm in your mind.

Moving on...

In the far right corner is a little boy in a red sweater and he's sneezing, "Achoo-too. Achoo-too."

Little boy, red sweater, sneezing, "Achoo-too. Achoo-too."

What was in front of you again? Who is standing beside the nun? What is he saying?

When you're ready, continue.

On the wall to your right is a big billboard. It's an advertisement for the herb. Got it? Go back to the herb. It's blowing in the wind and surrounded by what? Who is in the far left corner? Who is in the far right?

By now you think my elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor. It does. I assure you, there is a purpose for this. Ready? Let's continue...

Okay, beside you on the right are two construction workers building a bridge. Make them hot construction workers. After all, this is your imagination! Male or female doesn't matter. Two construction workers building a bridge.

On your left is a little girl getting an injection and she says, "Ouch!"

What's on your right? What was on the wall? What does it advertise? Go backwards...who is in the corner and what is he sneezing? What's in front of you? Tell me about the pair in the left corner. Who is on your immediate left?

Last one and you can put him anywhere you want: a man in a three-piece suit making a presentation. He's holding a tin can with no top or bottom on it.

Recite them. Look around the room, not at the computer screen for a moment and go through all the images.

Now do them backward. Start with the man. Remember the tin can!

Got 'em all? Good!

You just learned the eight parts of speech. And their definitions.

Nope, I'm not kidding. You really did.

Start with the nun in the corner. She's a noun. She's a person, standing in a place, holding a thing and her habit represents an idea.

A noun is a person, place, thing or idea. :)

Take the pro basketball player next to her. He's a pronoun. Get it? Pro-noun? And what do pronouns do? They take the place of nouns (he's saying, "Put me in, Sister, let me take your place.")

By now you're groaning at the bad puns. Rest assured...they get worse.

In front of you is that herb. That's a verb. And there are two kinds of verbs: action ("blowing in the wind") and linking (that chain link fence!).

So far you have a noun, a pronoun and two kinds of verbs. Let's see what else we can find.

The little boy wearing the red sweater and sneezing. Let's change "Achoo-too" to "Adjective." He's a LITTLE boy wearing a RED sweater.

Adjectives describe nouns (and other adjectives, but let's keep it simple today, shall we?).

And then there's that advertisement on the wall for the herb. That's the ad-verb. The adverb! Get it?? :) Let's slap a sticker on that billboard that says "ly" since most of the adverbs have -ly endings.

To review:
We have a noun in the corner with a pronoun beside it. In front of us is a verb, both kinds (action and linking). In the other corner is a LITTLE boy and his RED sweater now sneezing, "Adjective" and on the wall, we're advertising the adverb with it's ly ending.

Okay, those 2 construction workers building a bridge? Those are conjunctions and what's their function? To build bridges between sentences, of course! Those are words like "and" "or" "for" "nor"...They serve some other purposes, too, but we're staying simple, remember? So conjunctions build bridges between sentences.

Two more to go!
Our poor little girl getting her injection is an interjection. Remember she says, "Ouch!" -- which is a word dropped into the sentence that isn't necessarily needed. "Wow!" and "Great!" are other examples. So is "Shit." :)

And our handsome man in his suit making is presentation is a preposition. Prepositions show location (pre-position -- see? It has the word "position" right in it!). The tin can helps here. You can be in it, you can be near it, you can be outside, around, go through, be on it or under it or over it. You can go toward it or walk with it, you can even move away from it. All prepositions!

Look over at that nun again. Run through the eight images, then run through them again as the parts of speech.

And you thought grammar was dull...

I do this with classes filled with bored high school students and by the end of the image-learning, they know every image and can't wait to shout them out. They physically turn toward that part of the room as they describe what they "see" there and when I drop the bombshell at the end and tell them what they just learned? They don't believe me.

Then I start "decoding" the images and they start laughing. They're taking notes and giggling and making jokes about the herb (which they nearly always want to make a marijuana plant) -- and learning grammar basics.

If you don't know your parts of speech (and if you're a writer, you should! They're the basic building blocks of your craft), go back through the images again, translating the image to the actual definition of that part of speech. Test yourself.

And do it often over the next week. Repetition is key here. We'll get past that and into usage in a future post. Right now, just have fun learning the eight parts of speech.

:)
Diana
PS. leave a tip in the jar if you enjoyed this. I think its working now!

Or maybe not... :(


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Finding my voice


When I first started this blog back in 2003, I did it because it was expected of me as a new writer. Websites were de rigeueur, so of course, I had one, but blogs were the new kid on the block, the bandwagon everyone was jumping on.

So, I jumped, too.

And missed.

What the heck was I supposed to say? I wrote fiction, not conversations with strangers. I posted a few things every once in a while, but heck, I barely managed that other author necessity, the newsletter. How was I supposed to think of stuff to say every week? Or worse, every day?

The blog sputtered and nearly died several times. For a while it was pretty much a repeat of my newsletter. I had books to write and a family to raise as well as a full-time job. And readers didn't talk back to me, anyway. Might as well just chuck it.

(Sidenote: I pretty much felt the same way when Twitter came along. All the advice said, “Have a conversation with your readers, don’t just post when you have a new book.” But I’m terrible at starting conversations in real life, let alone cyberspace. I’m just not that interesting a person!)

Yes, I did the required reading and posting on other people’s blogs, but mostly I just read them and learned about publishing (and snark). Posting on them didn't seem to lead people back to my own blog and stating that I’d covered a similar topic myself in a post was (is) considered blatant self-promotion and frowned upon.

Then one year (2010), for my own edification, I decided to keep track of all the books I read. I figured the easiest way to do that was to make a post on the blog with a sentence or two about the book. Not a review, just a record.

To my surprise, the hits went from single to double digits each day. I pretty much doubled my readership and that surprised me because I really wasn't posting for the readers, I was posting for myself. I was my own audience and so had loosened up. Maybe I was on to something here?

And then I started the writing workshops in September, 2011. I took the idea from Dean Wesley Smith about putting each chapter out, then collecting those chapters and making a book available. I’d been teaching writing in both the real and virtual worlds (Second Life) for quite some time – making those workshops available on the web seemed the next logical step.

This time my numbers tripled. Each Tuesday I’d have between 40 and 50 people visiting, apparently just for the workshop. Some would email me with questions or comments, but mostly, the only indication I had that the site was getting more traffic was in the hit numbers, because still, few left comments.

(I double-checked the settings over a dozen times those first few months of starting the writing workshops, concerned that maybe I’d turned the comment feature off by accident. I hadn't.  My readers are just not talkers. In other words, they’re like me!)

But somewhere along the way, posting those writing workshops helped me to find my voice when it comes to posting on this blog. I threw off the artificial constraint I had put on myself (trying to figure out what people wanted to read) and instead posted what I wanted to write. Sometimes that’s my opinion about something, sometimes it’s a reflection about an event, sometimes it’s barely anything at all but me enjoying the flow of words and exploring a subject for fun.

But its me. It’s my voice.

Took me nearly nine years to find it, but find it, I did. And my hits nearly doubled again.

Thank you to those who have been here from the beginning, thank you to those who pop in occasionally just to see what’s going on. And thank you to those who read every post, every time. You may not say much, but I know you’re there and that’s what counts.

Beginning writers, want some advice? Learn faster than I did! :)

Play safe, everyone – I’m having fun and I hope you are, too!

Diana 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NaNoWriMo anyone?

I know today's supposed to be a writing workshop, but I also know several of you are participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This great write-in, if you will, is held every November and every November I say I'm going to participate. Then grades are due and I get busy correcting senior papers and, well...let's just say November is not a good writing month for me.

But many of you ARE writing fast and furiously this month and let me offer some words of encouragement: keep writing! What are you doing here, reading this blog when you should be writing? At this point you should be almost halfway done - are you?

Okay, so that's not much encouragement. It IS however, the truth. During this month you really don't have time to spend honing your craft, you're too busy writing a novel. And that's okay. There comes a time in every writer's life when it's time to set all else aside and simply concentrate on writing a coherent story. Or incoherent story. This month, it doesn't really matter. You're just writing. Editing comes in December.

So get back to your manuscript and keep those words flowing! I may not be able to participate, but I can cheerlead with the best of 'em.

Love you all, glad you stopped by...now go write!

Diana
:)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Hobbit

Okay, you all know I'm a Tolkien geek. Small "g" -- not a capital like Peter Jackson or Stephen Colbert, but a small-case "g" as in, I've read Lord of the Rings more times than I can count and The Hobbit about a dozen times.

I've been a member of The One Ring (formerly Tolkien Online) for years, although not active since I've been writing my own books. I still go and page through the forums, reading the conversations and lurking in the shadows like a benevolent Gollum, seeking tidbits and simply enjoying some time with like-minded people. I once was Wisteria there (Wiste to my friends).

And now, with The Hobbit about to make its film debut, the media frenzy has been up and running for over a month. Yes, I already have my tickets to see it in 48 frames per second on the first day of its release. Told you I was a Tolkien geek!

I've watched the trailers - lots - and I love the song the dwarves sing in Bilbo's house. "Far over the Misty Mountains call..." The tune is far more haunting than I ever created in my head as I read the book, but I have to say, I like it. A lot. That deep baritone of Richard Armitage sends chills down my spine and I look forward to hearing it coming from theatre speakers instead of my little headphones.

Jackson set up a pattern with the three Lord of the Rings movies: over the end credits, a singer sings a song based on the action of the film or on one of the characters. For Fellowship of the Ring, Enya wrote and sang "May it Be". At the end of The Two Towers, Emiliana Torrini sings "Gollum's Song" (haunting and a little bit scary!). And Annie Lennox wrote "Into the West" for Return of the King (a song I want played at my funeral.).

And now, for The Hobbit, he is doing the same. Neil Finn sings a wonderful piece that I've already played through several times in the past hour and will play several more times before I see the film. You can listen to it here.

Anyone else waiting for this film as I am? Am I alone in my Tolkien-geekiness?

Diana



Sunday, November 11, 2012

On grammar...

Because I knew I was going to be a writer at a young age (I was 9 or 10 when my teacher told me I should be one because of a short story I'd written about bears. I thought she'd just given me my career and agreed with her), I paid attention when English teachers gave lessons about grammar.

Didn't understand them, but I paid attention.

At the end of our junior year here in NY State, all students must take an exam in English. At that time there was a section that might - or might not - ask grammatical questions. I remember my girlfriend, Mary Ann, sitting me down and drilling me on the parts of speech and showing me how to diagram a sentence, getting frustrated with me when I'd shrug my shoulders and give her a blank look.

None of it stuck and thankfully, there were no questions of that sort on the test. Which I ended up not having to take. But that's a story for a different post. :)

In college we studied "transformational grammar" and for the first time ever, why we put certain words in certain places in sentences began to make sense. Finally I understood the difference between a gerund and a verb, even though both looked exactly the same. I recognized the differences between past, present and future participles. Heck! I even knew what a participle was!

The old adage says you never learn something so thoroughly as when you have to teach it. Teaching grammar to 7th and 8th graders probably did nothing for them but it did everything for me. Looking at language through the lens of its grammar opened new ways of forming sentences, new ways of structuring arguments, and most importantly, new ways of telling a story.

Recently I had occasion to teach seniors the four sentence types. I actually wanted to teach comma placement, but we had to go back a step. Then, when I asked, offhandedly, really just wanting to bring the piece of knowledge back to the front of their brains, how many types of verbs there are - and they couldn't answer me - I ended up going back and teaching the parts of speech all over again.

It isn't that they haven't had it. It isn't as if no one's ever taught them this before. Yet, like my younger self, they find no meaning in it and so haven't really bothered to learn it. One of the boys asked me why we were waiting until they were seniors to teach this stuff. He felt it should be much earlier in the curriculum!

In any case, going through the basic rules of English grammar once more made me appreciate the structure all over again. It also made me glad I'm a native speaker. I can't imagine how hard this language would be to learn if I learned another language first. I am so impressed with those who learn to speak English later in life. You do what I could not.

Because my teacher told me I was going to be a writer, I understood those grammatical rules were something I needed to master. It took me years, but master them I did. Still don't know all their fancy names (adverbial clauses give me headaches), but using the tools of the language is part of my job.

And it's a job I love doing.

Play safe!
Diana
PS. I thought about making this part of the writing workshops, but really it's more of a personal reminiscence and philosophy statement about grammar. Be forewarned, however! Grammar will probably make an appearance in a future workshop. Or two. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Taking a breath

I feel like I've been running since the first week in September. Because my day job is teaching, classes started up and life moved into high gear.

Especially this year. I'm teaching five classes with five preps and my head is spinning by the end of the day. On the downside, I have a whole bunch of work before (and after) each class. On the upside, I don't have 121 versions of the same essay to grade. :)

That, above all, is what makes this particular teaching load manageable. Every course I teach has a major writing component to it, so there is a lot of student writing to look at. When I taught six sections of only one subject, I'd give an assignment and then have an entire stack of papers all on the same topic. By the end of the thirtieth paper, I was ready to find a convenient staircase and throw them down the stairs (that was a running joke in teacher-school: the papers that landed at the bottom got failing grades, those at the top, higher ones. No, NO ONE ACTUALLY DOES IT! It was just wishful thinking on the part of English teachers vs the work say, math teachers had in grading papers).

Having five preps isn't so bad on the grading side. I can look at a stack of twenty-five term papers and not feel overwhelmed. It's manageable. Especially since it takes between 15-20 minutes per paper. The students are always surprised by the fact that I spend that much time on his/her paper. My stock response is, "How long did it take you to write it? How many hours did you spend on this? Don't you think it deserves more than just a cursory glance?" They usually grin and nod.

And then there's my dad. He had a Crohn's flare-up at the beginning of October and it looked pretty bad for a while. I've learned I don't write well when death is standing too near one of my family members, so all the pieces I was working on got set aside as he recovered. Now he's in rehab and doing so well they stopped the physical therapy this past week 'cause he's walking just fine (doesn't even need a cane, let alone a walker) and pretty far along the road to normal.

Except the wound isn't healing as well as they'd like. As a result, he's still there and bored to tears. I try to spend as many evenings with him as I can, which, I'm afraid, are not nearly as many as I'd like. Another direction in which to be pulled.

So today, I'm taking a breath. The sun is shining (finally! I'm in the Finger Lakes and, while we were only brushed by Sandy here - another stress! - there has been precious little sunshine for the last two weeks). I have bananas that have gone black, tomatoes that are beginning to rot, layers of dust on my furniture and winter clothes I still haven't gotten down from the attic.

And that's my day today. I'm staying home, enjoying the sunshine and nesting. I'm going to bake banana bread, make spaghetti sauce and pull out my winter wardrobe. In addition, I'm going to vacuum the house, gather up the dust bunnies and rake leaves.

Just as soon as I have a cup of cocoa and watch the morning sun...

Play safe!
Diana

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Warning: Today's workshop starts with a rant.

Stepping up onto her soapbox, Diana clears her throat and begins as the crowd quiets. She holds up a blue paperback book and begins.

I just finished reading this book. Jude Deveraux's Forever. It's a quick read because it keeps you enthralled throughout. I'd begun it over the weekend and then came home from work on Monday, sat in front of the gas fireplace and read straight through to the end in one sitting. Skipped dinner because I wanted to know what was going to happen to these characters. She made me care and I needed to know they were going to make it.

And then she did it again.

I know better. Jude has disappointed me in the past. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but no. I let her sucker me along, interested, caring...feeling the tension build in me as we approached the climax and then...bam! The next chapter starts a year later and, instead of SEEING the action of the climax, the characters tell it to me after the fact. It's a simple summary of what happened during the most climactic scenes of the book.

I wanted to throw the book into my gas fire.

Fire in her eyes, Diana steps down from her soapbox, takes a deep breath, and continues with the workshop...

To a certain extent, this goes along with last week's workshop. We're still talking about seeing the scene vs. just summarizing it. The difference is, this week, we're also talking about author-reader trust.

When you write a story, no matter what the length, you enter into an unspoken contract with the reader. They expect that you will follow through on all your plot lines, that you will provide them with scenes they can "watch" inside their minds, that you will engage their emotions and take them on an emotional journey all the way through the book. They expect to care about your characters - to laugh with them, cry with them, get angry at the same things they do. This is what readers want when they pick up your book.

And when you don't deliver, they drop you like the proverbial hot potato and getting them back in a different story is often difficult, if not impossible. "Oh, yeah. I read one of hers a few years back. Didn't like it. What else do you have?"

It's okay if what you read wasn't your cup of tea. I don't much care for American Literature (with the capital letters) but I love fantasy, science fiction, romance and even the occasional western. You won't catch me reading a horror novel (the few times I did I ended up with nightmares for a week!). I'm not talking about tastes in reading here. I'm talking about the quality of the story.

The only activity I'm going to give you this week is to go through  your bookshelf and make two lists: the top ten books you loved and the top ten books you hated (actually, you probably don't have the books you hated on your shelf. That's okay. Make a list anyway!).

Focusing on story only, what was it that make you love (or hate) those books? No, "the teacher made me read it" doesn't count as a reason. And "I like this because it was interesting" or "I hated it because it was boring" don't go far enough. What made it interesting/boring? How did the author live up to the contract you expected?

One of the best ways to learn how to write is to read. Pick up your favorite of the lot and leaf through it, reading the best passages again, this time with an author's eye. What techniques did that author use? How did he/she make you care? And how did he/she live up to the contract between the two of you?

*****
In America, today is voting day. If you have not yet cast your vote, please do so! It is a right we should never take for granted.
*****
The residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy might not ever be able to go home. The New Jersey coastline has been rebuild by Mother Nature and they will need to find new places to live. Please consider a donation to the Red Cross to help out.
*****

Play safe, everyone!
Diana
 PS. Edited for a spelling error.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Friday, November 02, 2012

Cleaning up

I've just spent the last hour cleaning up the website. To wit:

  • There are now links on the Purchasing Info tab to excerpts to all the books I've self-published, including TIED TO HOME (which released yesterday. Go ahead...you know you want a copy!)
  • Diana Allandale's books have been removed from that page and all links are now complete on her tab.
  • Excerpt links added to all Diana Allandale and CF Duprey books.
  • Added TIED TO HOME to the sidebar with link to the purchasing page.
  • brought complete list of all books written up-to-date on the purchasing tab (scroll to bottom)

Still on the to-do list:

  • create a tab dedicated to my EC books with links to all those.
  • add covers to that page of all my EC books
  • write another novel!

Play safe, everyone!
Diana

Thursday, November 01, 2012

TIED TO HOME releases!



It's November 1st and my Sweet Spot book has released in all ebook formats

Yes, it's erotic romance. Yes, it features hot, down-and-dirty sex. Yes, there's lots of rope...lots and lots of rope...that needs tying -and untying!

What? You want a tease? A taste? An excerpt?

Oh...Okay! :) Read on!






TIED TO HOME
by Diana Hunter
All Rights Reserved

Blurb: Wiste hasn't ever had a problem with self-bondage - until today. When the key to the handcuffs breaks off and jams the lock, she has to accept help from a source she thought long-buried in the past -- Matt Carter.

As for Matt, he'd never seen this side of Wisteria Penny Lane in the past...and he likes what he sees now.

Excerpt:
Matt Carter sauntered in, taking a moment to look around. Wisteria Penny Lane. She’d taken a lot of heat for her name when they were kids. Hippie parents who didn’t have a clue the teasing they’d saddled onto their only child. He wondered if they still had that commune outside of town.
He’d seen the ropes, of course. And the marks around her breasts. She’d been tied up pretty well. Who knew when they lost their virginity together in the barn on her parent’s farm that the girl would grow up to have kinky tastes? Or that he’d grow up to have them as well?
Now she stood, defiant and proud, her wrists held out before her in challenge. She’d  thrown a book at his head the last time he’d seen her, as he recalled. If Brian had told him whose lock he was going to fix, he doubted he’d have come.
“Let me see what I can do. Have a seat.”
There was a small chest on the floor in front of the window and he gestured to it.
“I’d rather stand.”
“I’m sure you would. But I need steady hands and that’s easier to do when I’m kneeling.” He smirked. “And you always did want me down on one knee, as I recall.”
“You bastard. Get the fuck out of my house.”
He drew back in mock astonishment. “Wisteria Lane, such language!”
“I don’t want you here. Tell Brian he sent the wrong man.”
Matt studied her face. A war went on there. One moment she seemed fully in control, the next she was a breath away from breaking down into full-blown panic mode. Fascinated, he watched the control side take over again. When she spoke this time, her voice was more leveled.
“Go away, Carter. I meant what I said the last time I saw you.”
“Yeah, I remember. That you never wanted to see me again. Well, here I am. And you’re stuck and I can get you free.” He held up the small case of tools. “Picking locks is something I do.”
Wisteria sat down hard on the chest, her wrists still held out before her. “Turned to a life of crime?” She sounded bitter and Matt recognized she felt defeated.
“Worked with a security firm for a while,” he explained as he knelt down before her and opened the case. He pulled out a dark blue roll of felt and unfolded it as he spoke. “They had a master locksmith as part of their crew and he taught me a few things.”
“Security firms are supposed to keep people out, not get them in.”
He snorted. “You’d be surprised at how often people lock themselves out of their own systems. First thing they taught me was how to break into a car with a slimjim.” Carefully, he reached for her hands. “Now, let me see.”
She said nothing to him as he examined the problem. The first piece caught in the lock of the handcuffs came out easily enough with a small tweezers. The second proved more difficult and he had to twist around to work the lock from her side of it. That put him uncomfortably close and her perfume distracted him.
Pretending his shoulder didn’t touch hers was another distraction. And that string bikini wasn’t helping. He remembered those breasts, how soft they felt in his hands, how he could make her purr by licking her nipple…
The piece sprang free and with a twist, he opened the handcuffs, totally shocked by the feeling of disappointment that washed over him. What was he thinking? Wiste wanted no part of him. And, if he was honest with himself, admittedly not one of his strong points, he didn’t really want a complication in his life right now. He’d just left one in the desert of LasVegas, he didn’t need to pick up another one here in Connecticut.
“Yes!”
Her exaltation was immediate. He didn't say a word, only putting his tools away, re-rolling the felt and putting it back in its case. Wisteria jumped up and brushed past him as if he didn’t exist.
“Em, he did it. Emily? Em!”
But Matt knew Emily had left. He’d heard her sneak down the stairs before he’d even gotten his tools out. For reasons of her own, Emily Baker had left them alone.


The print edition will be available shortly (it's currently under review for formatting and typos). In the meantime, get your ebook copy today!

Play safe everyone :)
Diana