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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Season of Magic by Merry Holly

Season of Magic

by Merry Holly

Giveaway ends February 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Our Readers are the Best!

Once again today, I woke up to find Season of Magic (Holiday Box Set) on the top 100 lists for both Best Seller (#48) and Hot New Releases (#27). It’s indescribable  the feeling of joy it gives all the authors who participated in this anthology.

Listed below is the Season of Magic Facebook page. If you haven’t liked it, please do. Right now we’re at 481 likes. Once we hit 500 and every milestone there after, there’ll be a drawing for prizes. The first drawing is for an autographed book from me. Your choice.


Here’s the link to the rankings on Amazon. Page down to the middle of the page, you’ll see us at #47. Next click on Holiday, than Hot New Releases to see us at #27. These numbers change hourly, but we’ve been in the top 100 on both the Best Sellers and Hot New Release lists for the last nine days. AND that’s  THANKS to all of YOU.




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His Name was Ben

This is an uplifting, emotional story that I recommend everyone reads.

Back Cover Blurb:

Hearing the words “it’s cancer,” threw Sara Phillips’ life into chaos, until an unexpected turn of events and a chance encounter with a stranger changed everything—his name was Ben. Based on real events, Ben and Sara discover that when all else fails, healing can come in the most unexpected ways. Chilling and heart wrenching, His Name Was Ben is a triumph over the devastating circumstances and fear experienced when faced with a terminal illness. In this narrative, the power of love conquers shadows and transforms the very nature and meaning of what it is to be fully alive. From the award winning, best-selling author of, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, comes a story filled with soul and passion that will leave the reader thinking about it for days after the last page is closed. 
“Paulette Mahurin compassionately renders an insightful tale about love and life in the moment, when a moment is all there is. Both ordinary and extraordinary, Sara and Ben kept me up at night rooting for them, as did Mahurin of course, a writer of exceptional heart, for her tender and wise depiction of love against all odds. A rare pleasure, His Name Was Ben is not to be missed.”—Lee Fullbright, author of The Angry Woman Suite 

“Paulette Mahurin compassionately renders an insightful tale about love and life in the moment, when a moment is all there is. Both ordinary and extraordinary, Sara and Ben kept me up at night rooting for them, as did Mahurin of course, a writer of exceptional heart, for her tender and wise depiction of love against all odds. A rare pleasure, His Name Was Ben is not to be missed.”—Lee Fullbright, author of The Angry Woman Suite 


“Against the biggest of obstacles a couple can face, the positive message is that it is never too late to start living.” –Christoph Fischer author of Sebastian.


Paulette Mahurin lives with her husband Terry and three dogs, Max, Bella, and Lady Luck in Ventura County, California. Profits from her books go to rescue dogs.


Buy link:


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Sounds  interesting doesn’t it. Today I have author Arlene Kay author of the Mantrap. I’ve read this book and loved it. Even gave it 5 stars on Amazon, I enjoyed it that much. I love series and have added this one to my listed.




            Several years ago, The New York Times reported the presumed suicide of a young banker. She was brilliant, beautiful and successful in her career. For some unknown reason she accessed the roof of a highrise to which she had no connection and plunged to her death. Ironically, she was scheduled to meet pals for brunch that very morning.

I read that and said, “Wait just a minute …”

That was the impetus for SWANN DIVE, the first book in the Boston Uncommon Series.

MANTRAP(book #2) was inspired by an obituary for a scion of Italy’s richest family who died while bicycling in South Africa. Suspicious, no? GILT TRIP (book#3, Oct’14) grew from my reaction to those annoying television ads hawking gold. I wondered how buyers would know if what they received was really gold. An article in the Boston Globe about a movement to make ugliness a protected class under the law spawned SWANN SONG,  the final book in the series. (2015).  Plot ideas abound if a writer is sensitized to them.



            I love Eja Kane, the protagonist of the SWANN Series, and readers have told me they can identify with her. She’s bright (all my heroines are), passionate, and somewhat insecure about her appearance. Most of all she is a loyal, steadfast friend to those she cares about. Eja is a mystery writer which means she is also incurably nosey. In MANTRAP, she risks losing everything she holds dear in order to find the truth.


Deming Swann: He’s the kind of guy you run into everywhere: brilliant, gorgeous, and filthy rich. (LOL) He has loved Eja since they were in pre-school, even though they sparred about almost everything, and Eja ultimately married someone else. Deming can be pompous (a touch of Mr. Darcy here), but he has a sensitive streak a mile wide. Naturally, he has fantastic hair. That’s one cliché I happily plead guilty to.



A lot of quirky characters populate my books. Some of them are reminiscent of people I have known. Confession time: it pleased me when at least one victim was remarkably like a dreaded former supervisor. (hearty LOL). Over the years, I worked in 12 different states, so I got the chance to observe a lot of humanity,”nature red in tooth and claw,” as Tennyson said.


4. CRITIQUE GROUPS/PARTNERS –I belonged to a critique group for 7 years, and it equipped me to become a published author. I still have a writing partner who helps to ground me. From those sources I learned humility and the grace to listen, improve, and accept criticism. (even when they were SO wrong and I vehemently disagreed with it).


5.GENRES I’M DRAWN TO- I am an unabashed anglophile and as such I love Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and most Brit crime writers. Thumbs down to the dreary fellows—Dickens, Hardy etc. The dour Russians don’t do much for me either.

Among contemporary American writers, I adore Joseph Heller, William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal. I also have a secret crush on Nelson DeMille. They all write witty, snarky characters and make me envious of their vast talent. Elizabeth Peters made me appreciate how effective the alliance of romance, sprightly dialogue and mystery can be.


6. Writing Organizations-I belong to Sisters in Crime; Romance Writers of America; International Thriller Writers; and Kiss of Death, as well as my local mother ship, the Cape Cod Writers’ Center. I’ve learned so much from all of them.


7. PRECIS OF MANTRAP(Book #2 of Boston Uncommons Series)

Was Dario Peters’ death a tragic biking accident, or cold-blooded murder? He was   rich, arrogant and cruel but the apple of his doting grandma’s eye. She begs amateur sleuths Eja Kane and Deming Swann to come to Cape Cod to investigate. They can’t resist even though their relationship and their lives are imperiled.

Read more about Arlene at the link below

Buy Links:



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Season of Magic Holiday Box Set

I’m excited to announce Season of Magic (holiday box set) is now up for sale.

As a way to give back, the
writers of this set have agreed to donate 10% of the
proceeds of sales during the first week to St. Jude’s
Children’s Research Hospital. The set features five
holiday tales (Christmas and Chanukah), selling for 99
cents. So fire up your Kindles and help us make a sizeable
donation to a worthy cause.



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Interview with author Anna James


What inspired your latest book?

The idea of what would happen if something in your past, something you’d do just about anything to keep secret, was exposed. What impact would it have on your life, on the lives of your family? Friends?

What is your typical day like?

I get up in the morning and get the coffe going, let the dog out, feed the dog, consume copious amounts of caffeine, take the dog for a walk, go to work. In the evenings there’s dinner, another dog walk and then its time for writing!

How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you?

Not as much time as I should and more time than I’d like to! When I have print books out I do book signings but that doesn’t work as well for ebooks. Sometimes I do personal appearances and speak to book clubs about my book or on the topic of writing. I haven’t found any one venue that works particularly well – yet. But I’ll keep at it.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

As of today, I have only published with small press publishers. I may consider selfpublishing in the future.


Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

My stories are about conquering life’s trials and my ideas generally come from brainstorming with other writer friends on the topic.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

I’d say do your homework and make sure to hire quality people to edit, create covers, etc. There’s a lot that’s involved in the process and you need to make sure to get it right.

Do you have critique partners?

Yes, we have a group of 5 of us. Since we all write something different it works out well.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

Just about anything chocolate!

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

I don’t usually create characters based on people I know, at least not on a conscious level. I’m more likely to use assorted personality traits from many people to create one character.

Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?

Definitely not a walk in the park, but not fraught with peril either. I’ve been rejected, too many times to count at this stage of the game, but I don’t give up.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

A secret she must keep… A man she can’t resist.

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like? 

I don’t have a dedicated space. If I need complete solitude I take my portable desk into my bedroom and lock the door. So far it has worked for me.

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Max is a hard worker (he built his own business from the ground up). He gives back to those who have helped him and he comes to Nicole’s rescue (the heroine) not once but twice. His weakness is he doesn’t trust women (Wait until you find out why! Max also has a little secret he’d like to keep hidden).

Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Nicole has a strong sense of family and would do just about anything for her sisters. Her weakness is she always chooses the wrong type of man to get involved with. Most of the time she ends up with a broken heart but one man, in particular, cost her much more.

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

Romantic suspense, contemporary, historical, and sci-fi to name just a few.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

I write contemporary romance with elements of suspense, but I like reading a variety of romance genres. Why? Because there are a LOT of great stories out there and I don’t like to limit myself to anyone kind.

How far do you plan ahead?

In terms of my writing, I’ve written one novel,  have another novella in The Forever Yours trilogy planned for this year and I want to finish my other WIP before the end of the year as well.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself and never, ever give up on your dream.

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t even remember what I wanted to be. It changed so many times, but I can tell you a writer was not one of the careers I’d imagined for myself as a child or even as a new adult. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I even considered it.

Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization?  Which one?  Have they helped you with your writing?  How?

I belong to the following writing organizations:

  • The Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America (CTRWA)
  • Charter Oak Romance Writers (CORW)
  • RWA Contemporary Romance Writers

Have they helped – you betcha! These are some of the most supportive, inspiring people I have ever met and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today as a writer without them. How have they helped? Mentoring programs, critique groups, words of advice, and inspiring guest speakers at the monthly meetings, just to name a few.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 

It’s filled with passion and romance, mystery and suspense! Here’s a little snippet to whet your appetite:


Passion ignites between Nicole Bradford and Max Paradis the moment they lay eyes on each other, but despite the sizzling attraction and Max’s to-die-for-kisses, Nicole is reluctant to get involved. She’s been burned by love before.

Carlo had been her ideal mate but the dream became a nightmare when his drug smuggling past was revealed.

Now all Nicole wants is to get on with her life and keep the secret she’s been hiding for the last six years.

Still, how can she resist the handsome and sexy Max when he’s everything she’s ever wanted in a man? And what will she do when Carlo returns and threatens to expose her ugly past?

Nicole will have to trust Max with the truth if she wants to win his love and get Carlo out of her life for good. If she doesn’t Carlo could destroy everything that matters most to her.



Describe the genre of this particular title, and is this the only genre you write in? 

This is a contemporary romance with elements of mystery and suspense. I’d say I write contemporary romance with verying elements of suspense / intrigue / mystery.









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Lawyers and Romance

Interview with debut author STACY HOFF

How far do you plan ahead?

I don’t plan ahead—I’m a complete “pantser” (somebody who writes “by the seat of their pants”). I am trying to learn more on how to use a storyboard or detailed outline to help me plan my stories out.  In the past, using any kind of structured method was muse-icide, making my creative spark shrivel up and skulk away.

But there’s always hope.  CTRWA (Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America) recently held a special event I attended, with NYT best-selling author Cherry Adair as the speaker. Cherry gave a pretty good pitch for overcoming storyboard fears. When I write my next book, I’m going to try plotting with storyboards again, remembering to breathe deeply as the ugly empty boxes stare me down.

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

What I wanted to be as a child  is what I wound up being – an author. I remember writing stories back in elementary school. I hid these early drafts in a desk, too shy and insecure to share them with anyone else.

In my early teens, I mustered up enough courage to tell my family I wanted to be a writer. My family prides themselves on being pragmatic, so I wasn’t surprised when they told me to go back to the “profession pond” and reel in a weightier fish.

Being good in English, my family encouraged me during my college years to go to law school. I did that, and have been an attorney for almost twenty years. I have no regrets, since I probably did wind up with more financial stability, and I am able to manage my time well enough to still write creatively.

It is a heck of a balancing act, though. Especially since the needs of my family (husband, plus two boys) has to come first.  I do feel like the quintessential juggler. If a writing career doesn’t pan out for me, I can always take up a circus gig.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in, or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

Some of my favorite authors are in my genre (full-length, single-title, contemporary romance), such as Kristan Higgins, Laura Moore, and Rachel Gibson.  As an added bonus prize, it is true that reading books in one’s own genre makes for better writing.

That said, however, I don’t always read contemporary romance. Some days, I’ve got a hankering for paranormal books instead. I’m a big fan of Chloe Neill’s “Some Girls Bite” series, always waiting for the next book to come out. I have also read all of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series.

My taste is even more full-blown – I am a big fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and these books really blur established genre lines. (Watching the Outlander saga play out on Stars is too much fun. Somebody bring popcorn, please!)

Do you, or have you, belonged to a writing organization?  Which one?  Have they helped you with your writing?  How?

I am a proud member of the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America (CTRWA). I went to their classes for about seven years before I finally mastered their techniques enough to get my books published. Without their classes and support, it wouldn’t have happened.

My other writing support system is a Yahoo group loop with other Soul Mate Publishing authors. Any questions any of us have, we throw on the loop for people to chime in and lend a hand.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

Butter pecan ice cream. Excellent, but deadly for one’s hips. In any case, I do like to infuse a little bit of myself into my characters, so I make butter pecan ice cream one of my heroine’s favorite foods, too.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Stephanie Lang’s successful career as a television producer can’t give her everything she wants out of life.  Her personal goals of writing a romance novel, and finding true love, languish.  Emotionally scarred by her fiancé’s affair with her cousin, she doesn’t have the confidence to go after either goal again. At least she has professional confidence to fall back on; she is ready to produce the company’s next hit show.  But when her boss reveals what the show is about, a survival documentary starring a sexy, modern version of Crocodile Dundee, Stephanie’s life is turned upside down.  Colin Brandt, billed as “The Evergladiator,” will tackle Florida’s Everglades with just his bare hands and a knife.  Stephanie, instantly attracted to handsome, rugged, enigmatic Colin, worries he will not survive his twelve day odyssey.  If he does, he’ll win a million dollars. If he fails, his beloved family’s farm will go into foreclosure. Can Colin conquer the Everglades?  And can he conquer her heart?

Do you have any other books coming out?

Yes, I recently signed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing for a second book, DIARY OF A YOUNG LAWYER. It is (of course) a single title, full-length, contemporary romance. I don’t have a release date yet, so I’ll have to sit and stew in my excitement for a while.


Thanks so much, Marian, for having me on your blog! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to reach out to your readers.


Meet the author: 

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I liked this one…

I liked this one and thought I’d share. Remember writing prompts are used to write not to edit or re-write

7/13/14- Scribbler’s Ink Daily Prompt:
She/he knew for certain the key to solving the riddle was to learn why the antiques dealer needed to leave town..

Studying the body, Detective Lois Blakely wondered what the antiques dealer had that someone wanted more. Plane tickets clutched in his hands, a suitcase by the door told her he was skipping town. Find the motive, find her killer.


Turning toward her partner Detective Joe Jones she watched him bag the broken metal statue stained with the man’s blood. A smile crossed her lips when she thought, must be the murder weapon. Because she knew normally nothing played that obvious, but in this case she’d bet a whole dollar on the statue being the murder weapon.

Joe continued to walk around the shop looking into cases trying to determine if something had been moved around or if something had been removed. The last case he happened upon on, he saw a big gapping space on the middle shelf which called out to him.

“Whatever was in this case is missing?” He turned to the front of the store where Lois had the store’s clerk wait out of sight of the body. “Do you know what was in this case?”

“It was a seventeen century jeweled necklace. It was a stunning piece. The necklace was under lock and key with a special alarm attached to the piece. If it was moved a milli-inch the alarm would have sounded.”

“What was so special about a necklace?” Joe asked. Lois just shook her head.



“It was a very old piece worth a half a million dollars. The necklace was loaded with emeralds, sapphires and rubies with diamonds surrounding it. It was rumored to be Marie Antoinette’s.”

“So it was a piece of history.”

“Yes, but more. The jewels alone today are worth over a quarter of a million dollars. The piece as a collector’s item can garner at auction much more than the half million, depending on the bidders and the collectors. There was a lot of interest in it. In fact, a very nasty man was here last week telling Irving that the piece was not going to auction. That he would sell it to him and him alone,  if he knew what was good for him.”

“How far back do the security tapes go?” Lois asked.

“I think we rotate them each week. There are four weeks in the safe in Irving’s office.” The clerk pointed to the back of the shop.

Lois walked in back and found the safe the clerk spoke about. The problem, it was open and the contents were gone, including all the security tapes. Inspecting the safe, she scratched her head. It didn’t look forced open, someone had the combination. But she’d have to wait on the CSI’s to confirm her suspicions. Walking back out front she approached the clerk.

“Miss Wilson please follow me to the back office, and don’t touch anything.” Lois nodded at Joe to follow them. “It’s Candy isn’t it.” The clerk nodded.

Once in the office she offered Wilson a seat. “Who has the combination to the safe?” Lois stared into her eyes.

“Mr… I mean Irving and his wife.”

“You don’t have the combination?” Joe asked.

“No…no, Irving’s wife insisted that no one but them have it? She was adamant about it. She said it had something to do with keeping the insurance costs down.”

A bell out front rang, Lois looked up at Joe. He left the office to see who had entered the store. He stopped dead in his tracks as he watched the woman escorted to him by an officer. Wrapped in a mink coat, diamonds dripping off her ears, neck and hands he figured he was about to meet the Mrs.

“Detective Jones, this is Mrs. Schwartz. Rena Schwartz” Joe nodded, excused the officer and took Mrs. Schwartz into the office and rejoined Lois and Candy. The women’s reaction to each other was comical. Candy’s eyes dropped to her hands. Mrs. Schwartz stared holes into her, and turned to Lois.

“Where’s my husband? The officer wouldn’t tell me anything.”

“I’m sorry to inform you that your husband was murdered this evening. Do you know where he was going?”


“He had a plane ticket in his hand.”

“A single plane ticket?”

“Yes.” Lois gauged Rena’s reaction to the news.

“He did have a buying trip planned. I didn’t think he was leaving until tomorrow though.”

The woman thought quick on her feet. Lois had to give her that. “You’re not sure?”

“I was staying at my sister’s she’s not well.”

“Hmmm. Mrs. Schwartz, who has access to the safe?”

“Irving and I. Why?” It was then that her eyes tracked over to the safe. “Who opened it?”

“Ah, a question for the ages,” Lois said, scratching her head. “Excuse us for a second ladies.”

Joe and Lois left the room, but didn’t go far. She smiled when she heard the hurried whispers. “I think the ladies did in the old man. Why don’t you get the information on the insurance for both the store and contents. Also look into the amount of his life insurance. I’ll go back in and continue to question them. Then we’ll take them in and question them alone. I think the clerk is the weak link here.”


Joe nodded, pulling his cellphone out as he walked away. Lois gave the women a couple of more minutes to string out their nerves before she re-entered the office. They didn’t disappoint. Sweat poured down the clerk’s neck, her eyes roaming the room, not settling on any particular object. The wife was the cool one, thumbing through her cellphone. Lois found it interesting that she never asked to see her husband. An angle to play, she thought.

“Mrs. Schwartz, do you want to see your husband?”

“Dead?” she swayed grabbed the desk.

“Yes, I’ll need you to identify him. I must warn you, it’s quite messy out there. Someone hit him hard.”

It did Lois’ heart good to see the woman turn green. The clerk whimpered. Lois figured they were in it together. Now all she had to do is figure out who actually killed him and who was an accessory to murder. She made a decision on the stop.

“I’ll need the both of you to come into the station for more questioning.”

“Why we didn’t do anything,” the clerk screamed.

“Standard procedure. Let me read you your rights to keep everything clean here. It’s for your own protection,” Lois said. They both paled.

“I didn’t do anything, it was her.” Candy pointed to Mrs. Schwartz.

Well, that was easy, Lois thought. She’d have figured it would have taken an hour to break the clerk.


Back at the station Lois found out the clerk was boinking poor Irving. Mrs. Schwartz had an ironclad pre-nup. So according to Candy she figured if they killed him she’d get everything.

Lois smirked. It was the standard ‘wronged wife’ killing. It had to be money or sex. In this case, it was both.

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Do Writing Prompts Help?

Writing prompt groups are fun and useful. I belong to one on Facebook called Scribblers Ink. Each day the creator of the group Roberta Lerman posts a short sentence or paragraph and invites you to create a story. It’s amazing the different stories members create from the same prompt.


For me, I like to start my day with the prompt. I know there’s no pressure and no deadline. You work the prompts you like, ignore the ones that don’t speak to you. Today’s spoke to my and got my imagination going first thing. That’s always a plus in my opinion. I’ll post the it below this post. The best thing about prompts–you write without care of editing or rewrites. Talk about freedom.


What these prompts also do for me–they put story ideas in my head. Will ever create a novel from of these? Maybe. Why maybe? I do have several saved and someday they might start talking to me again. If they do, I’ll write the characters full stories. For now the prompts motivate me to write.


Do you belong to a writing prompt group? Scribblers Ink welcomes all writers of all levels to join in. Look for them on Facebook.


7/5/14- Daily Prompt:

The real excitement began the day after when… AND here’s my post:


The real excitement began the day of after the storm. The area flooded and none of us were allowed back into our homes. Stuck at the local high school, I met neighbors I never knew existed. One in particular caught my eye, as well as every other woman over the age of sixteen and under eighty. A tall drink of water they used to say and it applied very well to him. At six two his rangy body really didn’t do it for me until he stripped off his shirt to help set up the place. OMG! Muscles bulging, and a six pack I could build a house on had me changing my mind. It was difficult not to stare, but somehow I found the strength and set up my little corner to wait out the storm that didn’t seem to want to go away. All the women goggle-I wasn’t having any of that. Ready to snug in for the night a shadow crossed over  my face. Cupping my hands over my eyes, I looked up.

“Excuse me, is this spot taken?”

I stammered like a little girl. My lady parts singing, but I couldn’t get a word out of my mouth. The brain did not engage. So I shook my head no.

“Thanks.” He lay out his bedroll and sat down. From under my eyelashes I watch him tug off his boots. I hoped his pants were next. They weren’t.


“My names Ash Bolten .” He extended a hand.

I his in mine. Large, strong hands gently held mine. His eyes mesmerized me. I couldn’t break away. It took me a few minutes to understand he was waiting on my name.



“I’m Storm.”

“Seriously?” He smiled, his eyes crinkled and my heart ripped wide open. His face, a work of art even before the smile, was a master piece with it.

“I was born on a night like tonight, so my parents thought it was fitting.”

“And have you lived up to your name?” He teased, still holding my hand. Fire continued to flow through me, around me. Good thing it was dark or he’d see the flush I felt working itself up my neck.

Oh, how very clever was he. “Yes,” I whispered.

“Nice to meet you, Storm. Pleasant dreams.” And with that he tucked himself in between his sleeping bag and rolled on his side facing me. In minutes, I heard his breathing even out.

Glad he could sleep. He left me wanting, excited and confused. Why did he pick this corner to sleep?

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