Saturday, September 29, 2012

"The Marriage List" by Jean C. Joachim (Contemporary Romance)

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Summary:  Can happily ever after start with a list? Grey Andrews thinks so. After ten years of working, saving and investing, Grey finally achieved a level of wealth that allows him to do what he wants with his life. He needs a woman to share it with, but not any woman, the perfect woman. A woman who has the three essential qualities on his marriage list. But after three years of searching he isn’t any closer to finding her than he was when he started out.

Carrie Tucker, an aspiring mystery writer and divorcée struggling to make it in the world of advertising, turned her focus from men to her career after dating too many creeps and losers. She’s finally earned her big break, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the first female creative director in a hot New York ad agency. So what if it means working nights and weekends? It’s not like she has a social life anyway.

Is the marriage list a failure or will a chance meeting at a fiction-writing conference prove the list to be the key to Grey’s happiness after all?


Her palms were sweaty, her heart was beating rapidly and her mouth went dry. Carrie was about to face her first pitch on her mystery book to an editor and she was scared, scared shitless. She entered the small room set aside from the rest of the writer’s conference for editors to meet with writers. A short man in shirtsleeves and wearing non-descript, brown horned-rim glasses sat behind a desk. He must be Paul Marcel, editor for Rocky Cliffs Press.

Carrie straightened her skirt and made sure her blouse was slightly unbuttoned but not too revealing. She picked up her manuscript and synopsis and walked in, feeling anything but confident. She sat down across from him and smiled.

He smiled back and looked down at a printed sheet. “You’re Carrie Tucker?”

She nodded.

“Tell me about your book,” he said, sitting back, folding his hands together behind his head, watching her.

Just as she was about to open her mouth, a man strode into the room.

“Paul! Wait. We need you in the conference room,” the man said.

“I’m just about to hear a pitch, Grey, can’t it wait?”

“Sorry, John is only here for an hour and if you want that loan…”

Paul looked at Carrie and smiled again.

“Miss Tucker…Carrie, I’m sorry but we’re going to have to reschedule this pitch. I have a meeting with an investor I can’t put off,” he said, looking down at the papers in his hand, “I have your contact info here. I’ll get in touch to reschedule.”

With that, Paul marched out of the room with the man he called “Grey” right behind him. Carrie stood up and put her hand on Grey’s arm.

“Hey! You ruined my opportunity to get my novel published! I’ve been waiting six months for the chance to see Paul Marcel,” she shot at him.

Grey turned. His gaze swept over her hair, eyes and figure making her feel slightly naked and yet warm at the same time. She stared back boldly at the handsome man with a dazzling smile and an impeccable gray suit, noticing how snugly his suit fitted his trim physique

“Give it to me,” he said, reaching for her manuscript, “I’ll make sure he reads it.”

Before she could move, snatched the manuscript out of her hand and walked quickly out of the room. She trailed along behind him, trying to speak, but soon he was lost in the crowd.  

What happened here? Where’s my manuscript and who was that guy?

Buy this romance on Amazon, B&N or Smashwords.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Payroll" by Annie Turner (Western Romance)

Genre:  Western Romance

Summary:  Book 1 of the Jimmy Cochran story.

Jimmy Cochran thought that he had left his rough past behind him. But Ralph McCormick, the brother of the man he killed, didn't forget... or forgive... so easily. Jimmy knows he should just hightail it out of town to avoid getting into trouble. That is until Ralph puts the woman he loves into danger...

Novella, approx. 25,000 words.

This story was originally published under the name Alain Gomez.


Jimmy had not even gone through a whole round of ammunition on his six-shooter before he heard the sound of an approaching horse. He turned and saw Adelaide O’Hara riding what could have been one of the finest paint horses that he had ever seen.

When Adelaide saw Jimmy, she reined in her horse and said “Well now, stranger, you’re pretty handy with those six shooters of yours.”

Jimmy grinned. “I have to be if I want to protect pretty ladies such as yourself, ma’am.”

“Is that a fact now?” And without even turning a hair, Adelaide dismounted from her horse, pulled Jimmy’s rifle from its place on his saddle, and emptied five clean shots in the cans which were some ways off.

Jimmy kept a poker face while watching the whole performance. And after she was done, he was silent for a good 5 seconds. At last he finally said “Your third shot went too far to the right. You almost missed the can.”

Adelaide seemed to consider this for a moment while staring at the can in question and replied “No. I do believe that your rifle is at fault, Mr. Cochran. It throws a trifle to the right.”

“Nonsense, Miss O’Hara. I had that rifle custom build back when I worked for your uncle. If it threw the bullet to the right, I would have caught that right away and had it fixed. I can assure you that it is a straight-shooter.”

Buy this story on Amazon, B&N or Smashwords.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Further Explorations" by David Russell (Contemporary Romance)

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Summary:  Energised by their lovely liberating experience, Janice and Cedric are determined to 'spread their wings' and take the world by storm, a two-person conspiracy. They head off physically in different directions, but remain in constant depth communication electronically, ever comparing notes, monitoring each other's minds and experiences for a depth of mutual understanding. They may meet again fully equipped with a great depth of self-knowledge, and a knowledge of each other's depth. They negotiate giddy peaks of high finance; Janice even does into 'dreamscape', making a pact with the devil. Further delights of sensuality are explored by both, with exotic partners; the depths and shallows of life are all embraced?


They beamed at each other, sizing up their physiques again, comparing their respective performances which had led up to that climax. Then Janice breathily broke the silence. “You were an astral rocket, surging, grounding, resurging.”

“And you the booster supreme.”

After a final hug, they wistfully shrugged, along with smiles and suspicions of tears. “We’ve both got our planes to catch, darling…we’re all wired up.” They turned their backs on each other going down their separate lanes.

Janice and Cedric’s bittersweet parting, executed with watertight composure, froze that moment of perfection. Their state-of-the-art arrangements, so efficient in sustaining long-term contact were so effortlessly executed—miraculously, none of the hitches either of them experienced with their other contacts—that they simply had to have been exquisitely premeditated, but all the more because, regarding functioning in the immediate present, they were both prone to fumble and stutter.

Yet, there was a sense of permanence in that kaleidoscope world of fleeting acquaintances. Shattering glasses always sharpens, enriches the vision. Closet pyromania fantasy makes every dreamer dynamic—visions of the inferno, crashing of all solid architecture, but with the stench of charred flesh blanked off. Such an abundance of good looks and vibrant expressions passing by on the streets; it felt that any one of them had destructive potential, mighty cataracts at close quarters. The diffusion of that potential sustains the world’s equilibrium, global spark potential.

As they lived so exclusively for the depths, the buoyant currents of life had forced them up to the surface, to embrace the shallows, while sustaining their ability to forsake them, in perfect control of their natural buoyancy. That was the precarious stability engendered by their conjoint imbalance, melding of premeditation and blind panic, undermining and invigorating—generating a zest for life through the threat of its loss. But privately, they both missed the comfort of a little warming clumsiness. Living without it was like negotiating ungritted ice on a road—so easy to be injured if the path is too smooth, and the ugly, grinding monster can be a saviour.

If it was a matter of being nourished by the celebrity images, there was some potential there of Hugh Grant meeting Renée Zellweger—weights adjusted just right without painful drab dieting, though they were both thorough in burning away the calories. Perhaps next time, they could let go a little, though each of them always looked naturally spruce and together. Their negatives were revealing full images in the darkroom, the changing room, the transformation room, under the common denominator of its red light—great to contemplate the universal monochrome, fabulous the flaunting, waving of the leanness to reach out for their ideals.

Buy this story on Devine Destinies.  Also check out David Russell's Goodreads page to see more of his work.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Affairs of The Heart” by Borislava Borissova (Historical Romance)

Genre:  Historical Romance

Summary:  Two love-stories, two affairs of the hearts in a book. In "A Love In Time of War" first they faced the war... the love followed later. Peace was somewhere in between. One day he could have killed her on the other side of the front, on the next day he fell in love and what would happen in the day after it? All efforts to remain enemies appeared to be in vain. The borderline between their ability to hate or to love appeared a thin one. 

The war became past, the past became history and through the years only love is still alive in a very beautiful tale to remember.

In "The Last Secrets of The Ancient Island" series of mishaps in an old town casts suspicion on a number of residents, provoking changes in an adopted practice of the underground world of relics. Ralph, a young graduate of a university proves the last mysteries of ancient National Park sites are yet unexplored by historians and archaeologists and discovers the personal secret of his older brother Michael. An unknown driver has a tragic motivation to take his life and that of another.
We were born alone, we die alone, but life is our chance to live in love. If we don’t lose the chance, if know why love is the most desired legend in our life.


From “The Last Secrets of The Ancient Island”:

“I wanted to see the face, to look into the eyes of the dangerous driver who scared us with his crazy driving, caused a series of collisions and accidents on our streets and placing the life of each of us in danger and uncertainty. I still remember the squeal of the high-speed tires and the sense of an evil menace and I wanted to rage at him, to strike him. I expected…” Michael sighed sadly and, forgetting everything and everyone around him, he lapsed into the memory of that time.

“In the hospital, I ran up the stairs and I looked in the room to peer over medic’s shoulder. There were a multitude of tubes and wires. The intravenous system and respirator were attached to the body in the bed, to keep the driver alive. I saw the ashen skin, dark rings around the eyes, fragile hands—they were already powerless to hold the wheel. The body was worn, similar to a shadow. It was a young woman who wanted to die, who searched for death on the road as fast as the car would go. And to take another life with hers so she wouldn’t be alone when she drew her last breath.”

From “A Love In Time of War”:

After a while, the older white-haired man repeated in amazement, “Let’s clear this up. You fought to the death in the Balkan War against her father, her brother and her country. And she served as a nurse to Bulgarian soldiers, among blood, wounded, dead, and the smell of formaldehyde on the opposite side of the borderline. Does it mean you are coming to ask for the hand of your enemy’s daughter? The Bulgarian general, who personally led his army from the front line against the Ottoman divisions?”

“Yes. First there was the war… the love followed later. Peace was somewhere in between.”

“Yesterday, you could have killed her on the other side of the front, today you are in love and what about tomorrow?”

“She feels the same way. All our efforts to remain enemies appeared to be in vain. The border line between our ability to hate or to love appears a thin one.”

His fellow traveler shook his head distrustfully. “Your story sounds crazy. Most probably, her father will not allow her to marry you. Hmm… Kidnap her instead. Escape together as others have done many times on the Balkans.”

“Who would easily marry a Muslim man and a Christian woman in secret? If not, what would she be in my life without a legal marriage? A mistress? The woman who was born to be my wife? I cannot make a political scandal between our countries. The general is respectful and popular.”

Buy this book on Amazon as an ebook or in paperback.  Also check out this author's blog.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Explorations" by David Russell (Contemporary Romance)

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Summary:  Newly divorced and looking for interesting new experiences, Janice takes an art class with live models and the star makes her want more than a coincidental meeting. Art model, Cedric, thinks he knows the lady from somewhere when he sees her again at the pool. Body language says a lot and chance meetings lead to a desire for more. Will Janice ask Cedric over for a private modeling job and will he accept?


She lived in an area, which had been somewhat rundown, but which was now undergoing a great trendy facelift. Fashion boutiques, especially proliferated — something new sprung up in every street one missed walking along for a few weeks or so. There was a kaleidoscope of styles, including retro. The windows positively smooched and glittered with the samples, poster-sized photos of lovely svelte models, none of them over clad, beamed down everywhere as if to sayd’you wannabe like me? She had always sustained executive smartness, crisp black suits and stockings, starched cream blouses. But now she needed a spark. Those young things she passed on the street—they weren’t really all that special.

Janice was determined to make full use of the fitting room—a complete outfit from white silk underwear to a dark-green two-piece suit and a range of items in between.The changing room was spacious, and had a thick navy blue curtain. She had just got into the underwear and was putting on a cream blouse. As her fingers closed on the first button, a gust of wind rushed into the boutique. It swept up the curtain so that, for a few seconds, she was in full view.

The young sales assistant, slim, smooth, a bit Latin-looking, dressed in black, lost his composure in a split second. His face registered a cocktail of embarrassment and delight. But he instantly recovered his cool, turned his eyes to the correct angle, slanting away from her, and restored the curtain to a decorous drape. The open door, or whatever had admitted that gust of wind, had obviously been dealt with. Elated, Janice made her purchases—all was well, she was safely within her credit limit. But the changing room experience aroused thoughts of being an eye-catching, crowd-stopping image. When she saw Halle Berry coming out of the sea, she ached for that to be her. But how to become what she wanted to be?

In some way it would have been nice to have an affair at work, but she was oh so proud of her detached efficiency, as well as suffering from being under surveillance, in spite of her relative seniority in the firm—those CCTVs could be far more benignly employed!

* * * *

So speculation and reverie took over ever more of their disparate lives, in their respective ways, they felt like ghosts, wispy shades, their real selves were somehow exterior to them, belonging to an intangible sphere. Their routine realities switched off feelings adequately for day-to-day living, but each needed to be revisited by an external force. They both avoided the pitfalls of comfort eating, while their composites of stress patterns and their nervous metabolisms unfailingly burned away the flab.

* * * *

With and without her textbooks to guide and prompt herself, Janice set herself a schedule for the body and mind. While going through the divorce traumas, she had engineered her freelance work enough to control a great deal of her own time. Janice tried dance, aerobics and roller-skating so she got nice and toned. One of her closest friends, Debbie, managed a Retro fashion boutique, which bought and sold allmanner of period gear as well as hiring items out for theatrical productions. She liked visiting there and rummaging around with the stock. That sense of history, of invigorating recycling excited her soul, gave her a heightened sense of her own glamorous potential. She could ethereally float,become some time-free being, flounce through history all over the world, alight on key times,exotic places and radiate her full charismatic glory. With it she would have generated the power to fly, borne aloft by the fabric rocket of her magic carpet, her enchantress’s cloak—looping back and forth, circumventing the secret corners of history, probing into prehistory, making forays into the future, stealing chips and snippets from the future to re-enlighten and restructure the past.

After her swim, gym workout, game of Badminton, Janice liked to go to the cafeteria balcony of the Sports Centre and look down over the pool, regaling her eyes on the movements of those there. Being of a shy disposition, when not in her self-assured executive power sphere, she never introduced herself to anyone, never chatted anyone up. In some way this was an advantage — she could see all those nice physiques in abstract, with all the annoying human aspects excluded — so she could savour a carefully-edited illusion of perfection. After a while, she started taking her sketchpad with her and did quick-fire studies of physiques in motion.

* * * *

Cedric savoured the sight of graceful forms in the pool. He felt an affinity between the water and his pencil and brush strokes at the art class. As he went on watching and his reverie expanded, he felt that he was absorbed into the water, had indeed become the water, holding all of those forms in his all-enveloping embrace. He plunged down to the pool bottom. In his reverie he touched the ocean bed, chilly, tranquil in the depths, but on the surface drawn by the moon’s magic to surging horizontal floods, to leaping breakers aching to reach the moon, embrace the moon, draw it down to lighten, warm the icy depths.

* * * *
He had constantly suffered his wife Magda’s all-too-frequent taunts about being an indecisive wimp, effeminate to boot. For a long time, this was like water off a duck’s back, still offset by his partner’s charismatic magnetism. But finally, one dreary autumnal morning, he did react. “For God’s sake, go and find yourself a heavy macho hunk, if that’s what you really want!” Magda duly stormed off.

He set off to work that day, having been fully primed to face the ghostliness of the empty flat to which he would have to return. But did part of him secretly want to be one of those heavy hunks, suitably mud-spattered at the point of supreme attraction? Not really. He cherished delicacy, softness too much—something of an aesthete. But surely one could get the right blend of hard and soft if one really worked at it. Yes, he had been turned on by the Nick Kamen advert, wanted to look like that, be like that, and it could be done. Cedric was becoming conscious of his own body.

Correspondingly, he became conscious of the bodies of others he saw swanning gracefully along the street, shapes, form, physiques took hold of his attention. The physical relationship with his wife had long ago petered out, domesticity was just business. Thus far, he confined the possibility of an affair to the realm of reverie and fantasy, but he was desperate to get a stronger sense of others’ bodies, and his own.

He started mentally undressing the women passersby, and then took the step, daring for him, of going to life-drawing classes. He relished the shapes of most of the models and got a good vibe from the meditative calm they radiated as they sustained their poses. Slowly, inexorably, an urge to model grew on him. He hoped for a chance to pose, when the appointed model somehow didn’t make the session. Disliking the idea of appearing nude straight away, he longed to show himself off in his swimming trunks, which set off his slender body.

The opportunity came, the booked model didn’t turn up, the class started getting restive. The tutor started looking round the group and was on the point of saying “Can anyone help out?” Cedric took the initiative, he saved the day for the class. As he was changing behind the partition, he mused about two women in the class whom he found quite attractive. He was caught between his general reverie and the immediate situation. He wanted his dream girl to go breathless and gaga at the sight of his body, then the tides of passion would surge…but while thinking about the storm, he had to concentrate on the calm.

Being quite a nervous type, he wondered whether he could sustain a pose. But the reflective magnetism, and self-magnetism, sustained his stance in a way he had never been able to manage at Yoga or Meditation classes. Cedric got the tactile sense of the pencils, crayons, charcoals and pastels capturing, caressing his contours as he longed his dream girl to, transforming him into Adonis, sweeping him off one a time-travelling tour, worldwide, to meet all those legendary priestesses and princesses.

There were really lovely thoughts — as contingent, everyday life was so humdrum, so dominated by fractious irritation. He did spend a certain amount of time browsing the contacts in the interim — realised that this must be a great boon for the insecure and isolated—the faces were pretty, but the electronicised messages somehow failed to goad him to the next step. The people he met at the classes were friendly enough, but Cedric felt that they had secure, enclosed, comfortable domestic situations—boats like that should not really be rocked. As this stage, he was still very unsure of himself and a rejection at that point would have reinforced his general reticence. The one or two singles bars he went to seemed appreciably less communicative than the classes, but soon the combination would be formed, the connection made.

* * * *

He looked good in the mirror, and relished his image. This feeling had to be extended, externalised. He decided to have some undressed photos taken, Magda had never done that for him, only staid family album shots. First of all he looked in several newsagents’ ads, the sort of ones at which he had hitherto only glanced briefly, intermittently and disdainfully and then at one of those top shelf magazines hitherto shunned because of his would-be refined literary tastes.

There he found an appropriate advert for a photographer — she looked quite gracious and smooth so Cedric was put at his ease. There were some days of suspense before the reply arrived. Yes, he did harbour some fantasies about being a male stripper, have all those lovely girls screaming for him as he disrobed. Lorette was a very charming, obviously experienced photographer — said she’d had to be a glamour model in years past, but was now rather please to be at the other end, in control. That was fine, Cedric had only ever been very sparsely photographed. He chose most of the pose — his ideas of alluring angles, Lorette instantly empathized with them. He hadn’t been cultivating photographers’ galleries, year-in, year-out, for nothing. With the expanses of unhappiness and emptiness in his life, he was becoming increasingly drawn to a virtual world, a world of shaded, elusive images. At time of extreme stress, he longed for his physical being to turn two-dimensional, dissolve, be only discernible through a microscope.

* * * *

There was no getting away from it, Janice got a thrill from going to life-drawing classes. Some of the models there had really gorgeous figures. As her drawing gradually came to do justice to those forms, she felt more and more that she was like the shapelier girls and match the shapelier men. And why not? Her figure was stunning, kept it trim by workouts, badminton and swimming. She felt a secret urge to model.

Buy this book on Devine Destinies.  Also stop by David Russell's Goodreads page to see more of his work.