At our house, there’s always a layer of sadness after the last crack of the bat in the final World Series game every fall – no more baseball, for months. A Wisconsin boy who grew up with the Milwaukee Braves, hubs is a baseball fan, through and through, and he’s taught me so much about how to watch the game that I’ve come to love it, too.
Every February we’d watch for word about when the pitchers were headed to Spring Training, and then we’d eagerly follow our teams and await the season opening. Which teams? That’s varied some, depending on where we lived. When we met, he lived a mere three blocks south of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and we were Cubs fans. Those were the days when you could make a split-second decision on a lazy weekday afternoon (no lights, no evening games in those days) and walk over to the game – and find seats, and not spend hundreds of dollars to see a game.
When we moved to Minnesota, and later, to Iowa, we followed the Twins. Now that we’re out west, we miss Bert Blyleven’s familiar voice and the after-game on-field strategy lessons put together by the Twins broadcasting crew.
But our “back-up” team has always been the Milwaukee Brewers, partly out of Wisconsin loyalty, and especially because of my husband’s mother. Widowed for the last decade of her life, she organized her days around those Brewers and never missed a televised game. As her mobility decreased and her social network shrank, those players were her “friends.” She followed their stories, cheered for them, and shouted at the manager when she thought he ought to have done something different.
So it was a special treat for us on Monday to take in a spring training game in Phoenix and watch the Brewers battle the Cubs. They lost, but that didn’t even matter – we saw some of those “friends” in person.
I wish she could have been with us at the game – I kept wanting to call her up and tell her we were watching Ryan Braun, who got two hits and scored once, bringing his batting average to .800. Carlos Gomez (a former Twin) was another of her favorites. Ryan at bat is featured in these two photos.
We don’t often write team sports into our fiction – probably because, outside of my husband’s high school baseball career, neither of us has played them. But here’s a little taste of some softball that crept into one of our favorite stories:
Can the immortal love goddess Aria heal not one,
but two traumatized hearts—and if she succeeds,
will those hearts open to each other?
At the sound of the crack of the bat and cheers from the bleachers, Jeff stopped to watch the speedy batter dash for first base. She wasn’t tall, but she sure was quick. She never hesitated rounding first but dug in for second, the ponytail sticking through her red ball cap bouncing recklessly.
He glanced quickly at the left fielder, who picked up the groundball cleanly. It was going to be close. The runner dove in headfirst just ahead of the tag.
When the ump called her safe, the runner rose nimbly to her feet and brushed off the front of her jeans and tee. She smiled at her cheering teammates.
“Way to go, Amber!”
“That a girl!”
“You rock, Amber!”
Jeff gasped when the base-runner pushed back her ball cap to straighten her ponytail. It was her—his mystery woman, the girl he couldn’t get out of his mind the past two weeks. The woman who had failed to come back to the deli.
He gave her a big wave.
He knew she saw him. But did she recognize him? Did she want to? He saw her scowl and then lift a hand just above her waist. That was hardly a hearty wave, but he’d accept it for a sign of recognition.
“Come on, Conway,” bellowed Jeff’s teammate. “Stop ogling the babes. We can’t be late for the game. Coach will be pissed as hell if we aren’t there to take the field.”
“I’m coming,” Jeff said, reluctantly starting to move. Their diamond was three down from this one. Maybe she’d drop by to check him out after her game finished.
Walking briskly away, Jeff put his game face on. He grinned. At least she had a name. Amber.
Traumatized by the boyfriend from hell, Amber Heath makes a desperate plea for help—and is shocked when the immortal love goddess Aria materializes and whisks her away to a nineteenth century Carnivale.
Jeff Conway is still reeling from his fiancé’s betrayal and not about to risk his heart. But he’s more than willing to play with the spunky sprite Aria brings to meet him at Carnivale.
Sometimes watching, sometimes joining in, and always coaching, Aria launches Amber and Jeff on an erotic journey back to health and playfulness. But even the love goddess can’t force them to love each other.
Fragging comet tails!
Lucy Borasco – and by the way, the character was named after Gigi Morasco from my favorite (now extinct) soap opera – is a bit of a hot head from the get-go. She’s a red head, she’s handy with a gun, and she’s got an attitude that will put your balls to the wall. Pissing her off is not a good idea. Here are some ways to get Lucy terribly hacked off:
- Break up with her to focus on your military career.
- Forget she exists and that you used to be passionate lovers.
- After remembering her, leave her again.
You would think a smart guy wouldn’t do that, but her ex-boyfriend, Captain California Sykes, does all three of those things. First, he tells her needs to focus on his career – probably so he can rise up the ranks and then go back and swoop up Lucy and have his HEA with her. But before he gets that far, things go horribly wrong. He signs up for the Mars Mission and his brain is hijacked by Martian DNA. To quell the Martian invader within him, they turn off his memories.
Fast forward to Lucy’s last day on the military base. To say she’s a little ticked at being dumped, then ignored all these months is putting it mildly. She smashes his breakfast and tells Cal exactly where he can put that fork. After Cal confesses he can’t remember her, she nearly kills him with a kiss:
Her fingers curled around his collar nice and tight. When she gave him a light shake, his head whipped back and forth. Maybe she was trying to rattle some sense back into his malfunctioning brain. “Comet tails, Cal. If this is some game you’re playing to make me miss you, I swear I’ll fill your ass with helium and shoot you out one of those planes!”
He loved how the fire in her eyes matched her hair and the way she jutted out her chin at the end of her pronouncement. But he’d told her the truth. This was no game. His memories of her were completely gone. “How can I prove to you I’m not lying?”
Her lips curled up in a smirk. “Kiss me.”
With a confident toss of her head she laid claim to him, answering his questions about how he’d known her. Hell, he hadn’t known her, apparently he’d known her. The news made his dick swell with pride. His mouth quirked into a cocky smile.
“Come on, Cal. Today’s Valentine’s Day after all.” Her hands caressed his neck, working their way up his jaw. “One little goodbye kiss won’t hurt.”
Her touch confused him. Familiar yet foreign. New sensations and ghostly memories rose toward the surface of his mind but were squashed before they reached the light. He shook his head but the cobwebs didn’t clear. Why couldn’t he remember? Everything but those fragging ships seemed vague.
A twinge in his right shoulder shot up his neck, and he couldn’t help thinking the pain was a warning. He braced for more, but none immediately came. He wanted out of this box, wanted answers. But he wouldn’t endanger anyone else to get them.
“Lucy.” His voice sounded hoarse, as if he’d sucked sand into his windpipe. “Don’t.” Down below, his cock begged, yes, yes, yes. The damn organ had been asleep for ages. One look at Lucy had brought it back to life with a vengeance. But he couldn’t risk hurting her. “Something bad might happen.”
She cocked a brow. “What are you afraid of? If you don’t remember me, you won’t feel a thing.”
He watched her moist ruby lips move closer. Her mouth opened, ready for a kiss, and his groin ached, needing to be inside her. Smoking meteoroids, he wanted this. Even if he still didn’t remember her afterward. Even if it killed him.
Her sweet little breath puffed against his mouth. “Just one little kiss.”
Ignoring another twinge of pain he leaned forward, grabbed the back of her head, angled it to fit his needs, then lowered his famished mouth to hers. Her mewl of surprise tingled his lips. One hand cupped her ass and he pulled her body taut against his, grinding his hardened length against her tender mound. Her fingernails dug into his shoulders, and if her moans were any indication, they’d not been coolly distant lovers. They’d been hot every-single-night or three-times-a-day lovers. Now, if he could only remember what made her come he might get—
~ ~ ~
Yep. Just one kiss from Lucy fries his circuits! Turns out she didn’t need the gun after all….
Here’s more about Cal and Lucy’s story:
Lieutenant Lucy Borasco has her phase pistol ready and her ex-boyfriend in her sights. She has every intention of making him pay for choosing his career over her. But she hadn’t factored in a Martian sneak invasion, Cal’s incessant need to save the universe, or the risk of permanent damage to her complexion. Getting Cal back will cost her more than she thinks, leaving her changed forever.
Captain California Sykes’ memories are gone, his career is in ruins, and his ex-girlfriend nearly kills him with a kiss. Can he overcome the Martian invasion, save the rest of the team and win Lucy back again in the process? Or will his seat-of-the-pants plans and the canned fish rations cost him everything he holds dear, including his sanity?
Find out in The Trouble With Memories.
Thanks for having me here today. I hope you enjoy Cal and Lucy’s story and also book II, Fennik’s.
Eva Lefoy writes and reads all kinds of romance, and is a certified Trekkie. She’s also terribly addicted to chocolate, tea, and hiking. One of these days, she’ll figure out the meaning of life, quit her job, and go travel the galaxy. Until then, she’s writing down all her dirty thoughts for the sake of future explorers.
You can catch the other stops on Eva’s tour here:
Today we’re thrilled to welcome fellow Red Hot Authors Cafe author Leigh Ellwood to our pages – and she has an offer you can’t refuse!
Hello, I am Leigh Ellwood and I write romance and erotica. Over the last ten years I have attended a number of book events, everything from signings at local independent stores to the big Saturday bash at RT. I experience different things at each event – I’ve been humbled to have people come to a specific event just to purchase my book, and I’ve managed to convince readers who never heard of me to take a chance. Part of the fun of a physical signing is seeing how people react to you.
During my first group author signing at a mall in Virginia, I had a book with a rather racy cover (that novel has since received a makeover). I often had to stifle a chuckle when passersby double-taked and gaped at it. Years later, a friend helping me at an outdoor book fair fashioned a sign for my booth which read Romance in All Colors, Not Just Grey. It was an obvious dig at Fifty Shades, and a few readers did get a kick out of it. It even got me a few sales.
Why all the talk about book signings? One would think an author with a long eBook back list shouldn’t worry, because everybody’s gone digital. While I read the majority of my books in e-, I do receive requests for print. Late in March, I’ll debut my latest paperback, Love is Bliss – a duology of my two shapeshifter novellas, Sheer Bliss and Pure Bliss.
When you come to The Novel Experience Event in Atlanta from March 28-30, you’ll not only get to meet me but you’ll find many more authors who write romance, mystery, sci-fi, young adult, and other genres to share with you. In fact, the organizers of the event have given me one free VIP ticket to anybody registered with a room reserved at the host hotel.
If you are traveling and have reserved a room for the event, feel free to email me at kspatwriter at yahoo dot com to see if the ticket is still available. First come, first serve.
While you’re waiting for March 28 to roll around, here’s a look at Love is Bliss, which is also available in eBook at All Romance:
Living in Bliss, New Jersey has it perks, unless you’re a shifter looking for love or a human looking for peace and quiet. Not only does Calla Savitch, owner of Shear Bliss salon, have to deal with warring panthers and werewolves with overlapping appointments, she’s fed up with their constant matchmaking attempts. The last thing she wants especially is a hook-up with the one shifter who broke her heart years ago. Handsome were-panther Caleb Houlihan still nurses the guilt of Calla’s heartbreak, but when presented with a second chance to woo her he is reluctant. Calla may forgive his youthful indiscretions, but when she discovers his aunt’s true motive for wanting them together, will she send him packing?
Betrothed for years to Malcolm Weaver, Trisha Houlihan has grown tired of archaic panther shifters ways and wants to live on her own terms. A chance meeting with a hot stranger serves to spark her rebellion, but backfires when she discovers she’s fooling around with her intended. Malcolm isn’t keen on old traditions, either, but there’s something about Trisha that inspires him to make an exception. Trisha is certainly exceptional, unlike other she-panthers, and he is convinced they were meant to be, regardless of the circumstances that brought them together. Trisha wants to resist, but her growing attraction to Malcolm proves problematic. Can these two find a balance between tradition and passion and create a happily ever after?
On this stretch of the Jersey Shore, it’s a different “situation”!
Hope to see you in Atlanta!