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Taking Stock

It's been that sort of year so far, at least here. From the day-job changes starting in January, and now the official start of spring is just a couple days away as I write this. Though it's going to feel less like spring here this week than last week, but I'm okay with that. Eighty degrees in the first half of March in my area is not normal.

I mentioned the pussy willow here was in full bloom already, and my mini daffodils are also blooming like crazy right now, plus the forsythia is flowering, and my lilac has all kinds of fat green leaf buds on it. Just in time for below-freezing temps again at night this week. Mother Nature is fickle. If she cooperates next weekend, I'm going to spend part of one day of my three day weekend at the boys', doing my annual shrub whacking. It's time to get the butterfly bush, the rose of Sharon bushes and my grandma's rose cleaned up and ready for the season. Then I can come back here and clean out my own gardens, too, and we can make just one run to the composting site with the garden debris with all of it. Mulching will be next, but I'm not ready for that quite yet.

I do still have indoor projects as well, and I'm hoping to finish at least one of those between now and next weekend, which will mean I can tackle a bigger one after that--really digging into the book room to thin out. I'm hoping I can thin out enough books to clear two book cases so I can put my grandma's cedar chest in there--which will solve another problem...lots of family crafts, a quilt, afghans, crocheted doilies, embroidered pillow cases that are in random different spots right now. Plus the chest will make a seating spot in the book room. More change. Always change, right?

Before I get back to this project, I have a snippet for you today from Protecting Medusa.


            Philomena let him seat her at a corner booth in the bright, busy diner he found and didn’t protest when he told the waitress they both wanted the dinner special. She just kept thinking of her mother and Jason and the danger they were in because of her. Because if she didn’t think about that, she’d be thinking instead of the coming night and the monstrous bed in the tiny cabin she was about to share with Ryder. And that was unsafe territory after the past twenty-four hours, just as dangerous as the Harvesters, but in a much different manner.

            “You’re thinking way too hard about this, Mena,” he said softly, stroking the back of her hand where it lay on the table.

            She glanced up from her mound of mashed potatoes, aware of the warmth climbing her arm from where he touched her. “How can I not?”

            “Danny will make sure they’re safe.” His low voice was soothing, though it sent shivers up her spine for far different reasons. “They’ll be getting ready to travel tomorrow, then hit the road the following day.”

            “Jason should be in school.” She didn’t let herself think of the other thing.

            He smiled, setting his hand more securely over hers. “It’ll be fine, baby. I promise.”

            She set her fork down. “You shouldn’t make promises like that. You can’t know for sure.”

            His dark eyes went serious in a flash. “I will keep the two of you safe, Mena.”

            Her stomach twisted at his words. “You should worry about keeping Jason safe first.”

            “And how do you think he’d feel if I let something happen to you?” His grip on her hand tightened.

            She looked away, swallowing. She didn’t want to think about the possibility.

            “For all intents and purposes, you’re his mother, Mena. You’ve raised him since he was born. No--” he held up his other hand when she opened her mouth to protest-- “just because she gave birth to him and sends him a birthday card if she thinks of it, that means nothing. Desi is a lousy mother, but you aren’t, and Jason knows it. He’d be devastated if I let something happen to you.” He shot her a hard glance. “And even if I didn’t want you so bad my zipper’s about to burst, I’d need to keep you safe just because you’re family.”

            His argument didn’t make her feel better. “So you have control issues and a knight in shining armor complex,” she said, lifting one shoulder.

            He tugged on her hand, regaining her attention. “I may work well in protector mode, Mena, but I’m no knight in shining armor.” He held her gaze this time, his own heated. “And having a sheet of solid metal between us is my idea of torture.”

            “Ryder, it’s sex,” she said, keeping her voice low, pleased when it didn’t shake. “Good chemistry doesn’t mean you should put your life in danger. Not when you have a child to think about.” Still, the warmth from his fingers around hers had spread, all the way up her arm, to her face, her breasts, into her belly, lower.

            His jaw hardened. “I don’t think there’s another woman I’ve ever made love to before you, or a woman I’ve slept with that I’d ever risk my life for. Just you,” he whispered.

            His words made her breath catch. Too scary. Too soon. Too impossible. And, in her experience, a big fat lie. She tugged at her hand, but he refused to let go, his dark gaze searching her face. Her heart pounded crazily, and she wanted to go. Needed to go. Somewhere. Anywhere, as long it wasn’t this close to a man who’d just made such a claim. Her pulse tripped over itself.

            “You should eat a little more of your supper,” he said at last, his tone gruff. “I plan to exhaust you into oblivion on our heart-shaped bed when we get back to the cabin.”

            Just like that, heat exploded in her core to obliterate the fear. For years, she’d managed not to let any man too close. They couldn’t be trusted to keep their word. She’d learned it when her father abandoned them when Desi was two. She’d relearned it in high school when her true love decided he’d rather sleep with her wild younger sister than date Philomena, who wouldn’t put out.

            And now Ryder had bulldozed his way into her life and her bed. At least now she knew better than to believe pretty words.

            But her mouth went dry with the images her brain summoned up at his words, and she lifted her water glass with her free hand, ignoring the slight tremor of her fingers to take a quick drink.

            “I realized earlier you’ve seen all of me, but I haven’t seen you yet,” he continued, his eyes growing darker as he spoke. “So we need a big fire in the fireplace, and all the lights on.”

            Philomena shut her eyes against those images, but it didn’t work. She remembered all too well the ways he’d touched her last night, first outside and then later, in her bed.

            She thanked all the Gods she wasn’t getting ready to PMS, or her wild hormones would have her leaping over the table to get at him now.

            “Then I can spread you out on the bed and take my time with you. The way I should have last night. Taste every inch of that pretty body, tease you to the brink and back again.”

            Her breathing hitched, and she realized she was shaking. With desire. Lust. Need. For Ryder. Apparently men weren’t the only ones with big brain-little brain issues.

            “I could almost lay you on this table now and take you,” he rasped, “I’m so hard. But I’m going to take very, very good care of you tonight.” His thumb slid along the outside of hers, slowly. “It’s going to be so good, Mena.”

            She swallowed back a tiny moan when he nudged her knee under the table with his, and she forced her eyes to open. She tried to focus her gaze on the plate of half-eaten food in front of her, but he kept stroking her hand, and her imagination kept supplying her with other places and ways he could touch her.

            “Are you wet for me, Mena?” he whispered, leaning nearer.

            She couldn’t stop herself from meeting his gaze this time, and she swallowed hard at the dangerous expression on his face. Predatory. Hungry. She wouldn’t admit it, not here, but her panties were drenched.

            “Wet enough for me to slide deep?”

            Her breath rushed past her lips. How did he know? Or did he know his words would have just that effect on her?

            “Let’s go.” He freed her hand and took out his wallet, tossing some money on the table, then pushed to his feet and grabbed their coats.

            She got to her feet, willing her wobbly knees to hold her up. He helped her into her coat and then guided her out into the cold night, one big hand low on her back to steer her to the truck.

            She wasn’t going to stop him, she realized.

            Or herself.

            Dangerous or not, while she had the chance, she was going to indulge just a little.


Besides the change of seasons this week, what's changing in your world? Work? Home? Something else? I'd love to hear about it.

One more thing...I added a bit more info on my events page (link at the top of this page) about the May booksigning, including a link to the signing website and the winery where we'll be for the event. Two days, almost fifty authors, a great setting, lots of readers, book talk, and wine! I hope you'll make plans now to get there and see us. This one was so much fun, I can't wait to get there again!


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