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Finally, Peonies!

It was a long winter, stretching into what should have been spring with a four inch snowfall in late April. We were gone the first half of May (Cancun!). The second half seemed only to deliver strong winds, cold rains and dark skies. Perennials braved the elements by sending up sturdy green stems and leaves but didn’t risk putting forth blossoms.

 Now we’re suddenly breaking records for daily high temperatures, and my back yard is awash in colorful bloom and richly scented air. Here are some pics I took this morning to celebrate – perhaps they’ll cheer me and offer hope next winter when once again the flowerbeds rest under three feet of snow.

There’s always a piece of one or both of us in all the characters we write, so it’s no surprise that some of them love spring and flowers as much as I do. Melissa Hopkins would be one of them. She’s the heroine of Smoldering Passion, and I’ll drop in a blurb and one of her outdoor excerpts below.

Right now we’re in final edits on the sequel, Ripening Passion, due out in July at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. Like Melissa, I had to go spend time with my flowers this morning before cooping myself up with the edits. Even in the midst of painstaking revisions, I’m loving this new story about a pair of fifty-something lovers. You can read more about Ripening Passion HERE.

BLURB Smoldering Passion

Work for a sex institute? Anything for her art! With her graduate stipend running out, budding artist Melissa Hopkins applies for a job where her aunt used to work – at a New York center that studies sexuality and creates educational sex videos. Sworn off women after a disastrous relationship, Center Director Harry Gage ignores the danger signals and hires the striking young woman who reminds him of his former lover. Her air of innocence will captivate center viewers, so he’s sure she’ll be a hit on camera. What he’s not prepared for is how she pierces his heart. When the sparks ignite, is it love or just sex – and what must each of them risk to find out?

 

EXCERPT Smoldering Passion

Melissa stood and rotated her shoulders. She had to get out of her apartment. It was a beautiful day, and she didn’t want to spend it all inside.

She grabbed her keys and some cash and headed down the stairs to street level. She walked briskly, suddenly knowing where she wanted to be.

Shortly, she turned in at the entrance to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and slowed her pace, pausing to watch the ducks in the Japanese water garden. This was space for relaxing—for breathing deeply, soaking in colors and breezes and scents. The riot of spring bloom was long gone and summer was at its peak. She headed for the Shakespeare Garden and was relieved to find a shady bench empty in a secluded corner. Daisies, Black-eyed Susans and Daylilies formed a casual cluster in yellow, white and orange beside the bench. Further off some taller mauve blooms she couldn’t name were full of butterflies, and a curly-headed toddler ran up to them laughing gleefully. The child’s parents stood nearby, holding hands, happy, as if they had no care in the world.

Melissa shook off a wave of loneliness. She waited till the family left and headed across the broad open meadow towards the rock garden, stopping to watch more children playing tag and hiding behind shrubs and bushes. An artist had set up his easel next to a large tall tree that had one out-of-place low slung branch reaching several yards straight out, parallel to the ground. She could easily imagine relaxing under the protective boughs, but knew better than to disturb his scene or ask what he was seeing.

The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. She stopped and turned around. Nothing seemed out of place—the children were still running with abandon, lovers walked hand-in-hand stopping for brief kisses—there: a man stood on a distant knoll watching where she stood. A hat pulled low on his head served almost as a mask.

She cocked her head to the side. Harry? She jogged toward the small hill. The man turned and scurried over the rise. When she crested it there was nothing but trees and bushes and flowers. Not a single person was in the little glade.

 

Six Sentence Sunday

Today’s Sunday Six comes from Vegas Gambler – Book Four in the Meghan’s Playhouse series at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. A modern day Aphrodite, Meg loves bringing other couples together through sharing herself with them. This time, however, her radar may be a little off!

BLURB

Fresh with success from a recent stint in a musical on the Las Vegas Strip, Meghan Keenan takes some time off to play with her current flame Jack Hawthorne, professional poker player. She’s delighted to add her petite masseuse Tia Minh to the mix and even more thrilled when she learns Tia’s relationship with her boyfriend Tony Sanders is on the skids. It’s the perfect challenge! Tia has different ideas – she thinks Tony would be perfect for Meg, and she conspires to throw them together any way she can. Ever the gambler, Jack catches onto her game quickly and keeps the ruse going behind Meg’s back. Who knew his heart was up for grabs?

 

“Ah, karma—I’ve read about that some.” Jack ran a finger down Tia’s breast and tapped the pebbled nipple.

Tia shivered.

“Can you change your karma?”

She shrugged, clutching his wrist and keeping his hand on her breast. “I think a person can influence it, but it’s best not to fight the forces of karma.”

 

REVIEW from Romance Junkies: “VEGAS GAMBLER is an extremely sensual erotic romance… Filled with warmth, blazing hot sex, well-developed characters and an interesting plot, this story is a delight, but it is not for the faint of heart.”

 

Buy Vegas Gambler as an e-book:

Whiskey Creek Press Torrid

Amazon

 

Buy Vegas Gambler with April Swings as a 2in1

Print: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid

Ebook: Amazon

 

Six Sentence Sunday

This week’s Sunday Six is from a project close to my heart – To Love and To Cherish, a charity anthology published by LoveYouDivine on Valentine’s Day 2010, all profits donated to Marriage Equality USA . Our lesbian love story is titled “Embracing the Fire.”

 

Blurb

The deep chill of a Vermont winter will require lots of firewood, so canoe and wilderness guide Brandy Latham welcomes the help of her best friend, Stephanie Watkins. Newly settled in the lakeside house where she spent so many summers with her grandparents, Brandy’s ready to think about warmth of a different kind, and she knows just who she wants to share it with.

 

Fresh from her divorce, Stephanie is finally clear what she wants, and it’s Brandy. Has she been reading the signals right? Together the two friends saw, split and stack as they’ve done for many years. Can they dare to claim the fire that now ignites between them?

 

Here’s the start of their magic moment – relaxing after their afternoon’s work, sitting side by side on the floor watching the fire, sipping hot chocolate, noticing their marshmallow mustaches…

 

“I could get a washcloth, I suppose.”

Stephanie didn’t reply nor did she flinch when Brandy darted her tongue out. She couldn’t stifle a moan when Brandy’s tongue slid along her lip, wetting and then lapping at it.

“Better,” Brandy murmured. Her warm breath bounced across Stephanie’s mouth and tickled her nose. “Almost got it.”

Brandy’s eyes sparkled as she slanted her lips across Stephanie’s mouth.

 

Listen to Lascivious with Lacy read an excerpt!   

Victor Banis at the San Francisco Literary Examiner gave this book a smashing review, and you can read it HERE.

 

The complete anthology is available in print and e-book:

 

Print

          LoveYouDivine

          Amazon     

E-Book

LoveYouDivine

 
© 2018 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.
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