From Judgment and Condemnation to Forgiveness and Love

207850_101606019849429_100000000949045_47857_3829894_nEaster is a Christian High Holy Day. Egg hunts, jelly beans, pretty foil-wrapped chocolate, and fluffy bunnies and chicks aside, it is the most solemn and serious of all the holidays celebrated by Christians. Easter is a season that is actually longer than Advent (Christmas), for Easter begins at Shrove Tuesday/Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, and ends with the celebration of Jesus’ ascension to Heaven on the seventh Sunday after Easter (Pentacost). But while Christmas is about the bringer of our Salvation, Easter is about the method of salvation itself. The supreme sacrifice – the sacrifice made with the intention that man could stop leaving blood offerings on the holy altar.

From the second the first sin of disobedience was committed in the Garden, this sacrifice became necessary. God asked one thing: Do not eat from the tree of knowledge. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their blessed innocence. We know this because they became aware of their nakedness before God and were embarrassed by it. God clothed them, perhaps to show compassion for their discomfort. To do that, he slaughtered two animals for their skins to provide clothing. The first blood sacrifice – the price of the sin committed by those two in the Garden.

“The wages [cost that must be paid] of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23) Sacrifice (livestock, sometimes crops) became a way of life in payment for the many sins that mankind went on to commit. But animal sacrifice wasn’t going to be enough. Sure, the animals died, they paid the sin price. But that was a temporary fix, because it became too easy to look upon that as payment for the privilege of misbehaving. Lie about your neighbor? Take an extra chicken to the altar. Steal something belonging to another? Offer up a cow. When David coveted another man’s wife and sent that man to his death in battle because Bathsheba had become pregnant with David’s child, the man’s death was on David’s head. Sacrifice had to be made for the sin against the commandment not to kill. The very child that had been at the heart of the controversy fell ill and died. Man could not go on this way, though. Something else was needed, something that would have the power to permanently conquer sin. God would have to offer up part of Himself. A holy sacrifice.

Enter Jesus. The Lamb of God. The sacrifice that held the power to save humankind. And all the people had to do was accept the gift. But man could not be simply handed the sin price like an allowance. It would have been easier for God to just make the sacrifice Himself, I’m sure, just as it’s sometimes easier to bail our children out of tough situations instead of letting them find their own way. But what do they learn if we pay the price for their wrongs and they bear no consequences?

God, as our very wise heavenly parent, did make the sacrifice that absolved us of our sins, but first He gave us a refresher course in His expectations of us – His rules. Jesus’ message while he walked this earth was as simple or as complex as anyone wanted it to be. Through all the teachings of Jesus ran one solitary, priceless thread. It’s the basis of good cross in liliesrelationships, otherwise known as The Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” Other cultures might call this Karma. Some might call it the rule of “what goes around comes around.” But the bottom line is, the Golden Rule is really part of the admonition against judgment. One of the most well known warnings in the scriptures comes from Luke 6:37. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” If we follow Jesus’ teachings about loving others, if we follow the Ten Commandments, if we’re righteous people, why then, should we have been instructed to not judge others who fall short of these ideals? This is partially explained in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” You see, we also have faults; we’ve all done things wrong, made mistakes upon occasion, made poor choices. Because of these things, we are not capable of truly impartially judging others. We have a tendency to blind ourselves to our shortcomings and look more harshly at the failings of others. No one is exempt from this trait. In fact, this fact is driven home in Romans 3:22-23 with a very pointed statement that none of us is better than the next person in the eyes of God. No matter how hard we try, how righteous we aspire to be, how like Jesus we walk, we are all sinners. “…even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” GOD is our judge, the only One qualified to judge any one of us. And in His eyes, we will be found lacking every time. So we don’t want Him judging us by the standards we use to judge others. Hence, don’t judge others or you will be judged. If you condemn a man for his mistakes, your own mistakes will be held against you.

But wait! We are asked to go even further. Did you know that the verse warning against judgment (Luke 6:37) goes on to say, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven”? So you see, we have not been instructed to remain passive when it comes to reflecting Jesus’ teachings. Not only are we to refrain from passing judgment on others and condemning them, we are called on to actively forgive them instead. Jesus told Peter that we must forgive those who wrong us not once or twice, not a mere seven times, but seventy times seven times if that’s what it takes. (Matthew 18:22). And as if forgiving is not enough of a burden to lay on us, we are told to love others. Jesus explained the greatest commandment as: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) But don’t stop there, He adds, for the second greatest command is nearly the same: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

And there it is; the key to living our lives as a reflection of Jesus in this ugly world. Don’t judge or condemn, but forgive instead. And then love. Love everyone of our worldly neighbors – not selectively but collectively. Love the elderly shut-in who sometimes can’t remember her name as much as you love the tidy, smiling children in the Sunday School class. Love the impoverished mother who works two jobs and still qualifies for state assistance to help care for her children but also love the prostitutes on the street corners, for they may not know any other way to survive. Love the teenager who boosted your car and crashed it, the boss who made you work late so he could go on vacation. Love the bully who tormented you in high school, the terrorists who flew planes into buildings, and the disturbed young man who shot up an elementary school. Love these people by first forgiving them.

Do you require an example of how to follow this instruction? You need look only as far as Jesus’ last moments on the cross, as imparted to us in Luke 23:32-43. After the persecution, the ridicule, the lies, the denials, the beatings… the judgments. After nails were pounded into his body affixing him to the cross… as the sacrifice was underway, with the sins of all mankind – past, present, future – being heaped upon the shoulders of Jesus making Him into the Sin Price upon the altar… As he hung dying, two men joined him in his misery. Criminals, each one also nailed to his own cross, one to the right of Jesus, the other to the left. While soldiers cast lots for His clothing and awaited His death, Jesus prayed to God, speaking of those who had tortured Him. “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” One of those criminals hanging alongside him hurled insults, asking if He was who he claimed, why he did not save Himself and them too. The other man pointed out that the two of them were suffering justly for their crimes, but that “…this man has done nothing wrong.” That man turned to Jesus and pleaded, “Jesus, remember me when You arrive in Your kingdom!” With that man’s sins joining those of the rest of humankind and laying heavily up Him, Jesus forgave the man and showed him love in his answer: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

IMG_3153Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
~1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Have a blessed Easter 2014

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April (Showers) Will Bring… Bee Stings!

 Trust me, though, these are the kind of bee stings you’ll want to sample!

BeeStings_500x750 The decisions we make create and destroy us. Fourth grade teacher, Poppy Rodriguez thinks she has all the answers, and realizes, perhaps too late, that she needs schooling in just about every area, especially love–oh, and baking.

 A novice in the kitchen and the bedroom Poppy samples both, while surrendering to Michael Borchard’s irresistible charm, when she joins his baking class. There are a couple hiccups––it’s a kids’ class, and he’s married. Poppy and Michael improvise a recipe for passion that hits all the right spots. Their honeyed entanglement becomes increasingly sticky as his wife and her past muddy their budding romance. Is love stronger than circumstances, or will Poppy succumb to the sweetest temptation?

Bee Stings, by RosaLinda Diaz
Publisher: Astraea Press
Release Date: March 11, 2014

……………………………………………….

A taste…

I completely forgot to buy pastries this morning. The ominous, glowing, red digital clock on the wall reads eight fourteen. There are exactly eleven minutes for me to go to the supermarket three miles away, fight morning drop-off traffic, and set up the teachers’ lounge. After weighing my options of not providing treats today, versus facing Michael, I take a deep breath, zip my Sunny Vale Elementary hoodie, and start walking.

The little bell tinkles as I step inside the bakery. I’m instantly surrounded by the warm inviting scent of baking bread. There’s no one behind the counter, and I let out the breath I’m holding.

“Hello?” I call to the empty room. “Michael? I need your help.” There is no reply, or noise of any kind from the kitchen. “It’s Fat Friday, right now, and I totally forgot. Help.”

Michael appears, grinning roguishly. He looks incredibly sexy with his bed-head, white T-shirt, faded jeans and red apron; he’s sort of a more domestic, approachable bad boy, but with the same rakish edge. I need to stop coming here.

“So, that’s what it takes. I’ll make a mental note,” he says, and slides two large, bubblegum-pink bakery boxes across the counter.

I’m speechless.

“It’s not like you haven’t been doing this all year, every six weeks right? I just figured you forgot to call in your order last night.” He opens a box to reveal the most delectable pastries imaginable. They look even better than the ones in the display cases.

“You’ve just saved my life,” I say, strongly resisting the urge to vault over the counter. “There’s no telling the wrath that would have been unleashed if I’d shown up empty-handed.”

“My pleasure, and there’s no charge,” he replies, blushing, or maybe it’s just hot in here.

“I can’t let you do that. Please, let me pay,” I say, nudging the credit card along the box edge.

“Why won’t you join my baking class?” he says, pushing the credit card toward me. “Once you master the basic principles, I’ll create an expanded lesson just for you. Then you’ll be learning more and feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. How about it?” he says in practically a whisper… our little secret. He gently grasps my hand.

The bakery door flies open; three of my former students, followed closely by a trendy mom wearing a pink velour track suit, stroll inside. He releases my hand.

“You realize this will give my students reason to mock me for the rest of the year,” I tell him.

“But the year’s half over,” he says, watching as I pick up the pastry boxes. “Is that smile a yes?”

“See you Tuesday,” I reply.

The heat of his gaze follows me to the door, but the brisk spring air slaps me across the face and back to reality. I’m late.

………………………………..

Bee Stings Trailer: http://youtu.be

…………………………………

RosaLinda Diaz

RosaLinda Diaz

About the Author: RosaLinda Diaz, was raised in a particularly magical section of Los Angeles; between the original Disney Hyperion Studios and Snow White’s Cottages. The magic in the air and soil gave her already active imagination roots and wings. Wings that took her gypsying around Europe, Australia, and Africa, and roots that brought her back to California to earn her B.A. at Pepperdine University. She makes her home in California’s Central Coast igniting the fire of creativity and sparking imaginations with her endeavors.

To Purchase Bee Stings:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Bee-Stings-RosaLinda-Diaz-ebook/dp/B00IX6ZB70/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395100592&sr=8-1&keywords=Bee+Stings
Barnes and Nobel: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bee-stings-rosalinda-diaz/1118890955?ean=2940149392063
Astraea Pres: http://astraeapress.com/#!/~/product/id=34826740
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bee-stings/id839163697?mt=11

Connect with RosaLinda Social Media links: 
RosaLinda Twitter: @GitanaRosa

 

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Burning, Burnout, and Burned Bridges: From Ending to Beginning

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I actually stopped making New Year’s resolutions several years ago. Every time I made one or two, it seemed Life/Fate/Destiny took my pledges as direct challenges to see if I could be thwarted. Even this year’s decision to greet each day with an Attitude of Gratitude probably won’t last beyond the first time I wake up with a headache or the flu and the dogs dancing around me needing to be let out NOW!

Whew! 2013. What a year, eh? I started out on fire, with lots of energy and writing inspiration that helped me pull together a project with my co-author, Kim Bowman, that Like a Lady seriesbeing Something Like a Lady, the sequel to our wildly popular A Lot Like a Lady. And after that was released, my writing inspiration continued. The stories gelled, came together… but alas, my energy began to fade. So I had stories that were finished in my head but when I would sit down to actually type them out, for the first time in a long while, my words failed me. Even editing, a job I love, became a burdensome task. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open for my medical transcription job. No physical reason was ever found for the sudden and profound loss of energy, which led me to believe possibly I was suffering from a type of burnout.next generation

On the life side of things… again, just wow. Hits kept coming. On the positive side, my granddaughter turned four, grandson number one turned one, and grandson number two was born. My garden actually GREW instead of succumbing to drought. And no windstorms knocked power out for the hottest week of the year. On the sad side, though, lots of personal negatives. A friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. My son continues his struggle with a neck and back injury. And a friend discovered she had cancer. My carrie bdaughter in Okinawa had hoped to come back to the U.S. earlier than expected but the date has been moved back, and back, and back, until now it seems like she might just be staying PAST the original time mary matther husband was supposed to be relocated to a different duty station (at least that’s what it’s beginning to seem like). On a public scale, bombings, shootings, celebrity deaths. Nature-wise, no Superstorm Sandy’s, but lots of fires, floods, tornadoes, freak snowstorms, ice storms… It would be easy to say same-old, same-old… But every time a particular devastation strikes, my first thought is “There but for God’s grace…”

I will always cheer on the underdog. I have been and always will be a voice for animals and for the environment. But in 2013, I also got involved in the fight for fathers’ rights to parent their children and adoption reform, and it seems like that struggle will go on for a while as more and more fathers lose the opportunity to parent or even get to know their children with mothers choosing to place their babies for adoption (usually physically profiting in some form from this decision). That all started with one father and child I happened to pick up on through a post on my Facebook feed. Dusten Brown and his daughter Veronica love each other. That much is clear from the pictures to be found of the two of them. His long fight to gain custody ended when she was 27 months old, and he brought her home. But that victory was short-lived when the adoptive parents chose to pursue forcing the adoption even though Veronica’s father was fit, loving, and wanted her. I was not struck by the fact that he is Cherokee as some were, but by the fact that he had served in the U.S. Army, being SOGdeployed to Iraq for part of the time he was fighting this couple for his child. I won’t go into particulars here but let’s just say if deadlines were missed it was because they were manipulated by the adoption industry to BE missed, as they are in this repetitive scenario with many other fathers. The courts, the attorneys, the adoptive couple had a chance to do the right thing, the opportunity to preserve a biological link between father and child. But when Ronnie was just past her fourth birthday, the relentless adopters prevailed and Ronnie was taken back to their South Carolina home. Because Dusten and little Ronnie’s story is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corruption and bent and broken laws in adoption, I have decided to advocate for fathers whose children are being stolen from them by ruthless adoptivsog desiraie parents who secure a child at any price, monetary and personal, when they decide they want the children and are more entitled to them than their own  biological fathers and extended families.Thus, I support the Standing Our Ground organization. Next on my agenda with that group is to advocate where I can for Author Marjorie Simmons’ granddaughter, Desirai, who was a victim of the same questionable adoption agency involved with Ronnie’s forced adoption, and in her case she was placed with a couple in their 60s, whose adult children alleged they had been abusive parents. The laws simply must change. Fathers who want to stand up and raise their children must be allowed to do so. No child should be denied the right to her blood family and no man should have to fight with strangers for his child.

Writing wise, I finished the year with a Christmas Regency, TeachTeachMe_500x750 Me Under the Mistletoe, that has thus far been fairly well received by my readers. And, maybe the best news right now, is that I am starting 2014 with more energy than I had as we closed out 2013. Will 2014 be “my” year? Only the next 12 months will show us that answer.

Happy New Year!
Let’s make it the best year we can make it!

2014

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My Writing Process

NametheDay 500x750Today we’re discussing my writing process as part of an international blog tour project by several authors gathering to show what we’re working on and how we’re doing it.
Thank you to Sherry Gloag for extending this invitation. Sherry is a multi-published, best selling author of contemporary and Regency romance. Her latest release, Name the Day, is a contemporary story with winning chemistry between her main characters.
We were each given four questions about our writing process:
Heartsight 300 x 480
1) What am I working on?  I currently have several projects in the works – when I get stuck on one, another will usually start talking to me. I’m very close to completing the next of my Heart Stories (the series that began with Heartsight). The 13 of Hearts will tell Rabbit’s story. We first met Rabbit in Operation: Christmas Hearts, a young officer who shared quarters in Afghanistan with that story’s hero, Nick Turner. Rabbit is a very superstitious marine, who is home recovering from injuries that occurred on a “bad luck” day. He meets a young mother and her two children who have secrets…
TheToymaker 453x680I am also about halfway finished with The Acrobat, which is a story featuring Eduard and Elise from my 2012 Christmas Regency, The Toymaker. Eduard is a short man, who has dwarfism. Elise is a spinster and governess who has secrets that could get her tried and executed for treason.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I think the biggest way all of my books differ from others of same or similar genre is the degree of impairment my main characters must learn to live with. When I first wrote Heartsight, I found only a handful of other books in which the hero was blind, and in most of those, the blindness was temporary or curable. In Heartsight, the condition is permanent. When you add in a child with Down syndrome, well, the mix becomes pretty intense sometimes. But I’ve had so many people write and tell me that they want more of this Marine family that it’s apparent they are favored among readers. I’m newer at writing Regencies and I’m still finding my footing there. My heroes and heroines in my Regency books have pretty much been typical for the era. The Like a Lady series that I co-wrote with Kim Bowman is a twist on The Prince and the Pauper (a ladies’ maid and a lady switch places). The Toymaker is about a man who inherited a dukedom as the only living heir of his uncle, and it’s a title he never wanted. In The Acrobat, I’m diverging somewhat from the typical hero in that Eduard is a dwarf. But as a secondary character in The Toymaker, he got a lot of affection from readers, so his story began to gel, and I’m hoping for a midsummer release.

3) Why do I write what I do? I write what inspires me. At any given time, 5-6 stories might be coming together in various stages in my mind based on songs, news stories, pictures, conversations with family and friends. I have to write what speaks to me at the time. Contemporary is the easiest to write because research is far less intense than historical stories (I actually have been contemplating an American historical recently based on my love for Mackinac Island in Michigan, so now American history is tumbling around in my brain along with British history).

4) How does your writing process work? I often tell people that spiders are my muses – and I do write better when the author’s spiders are weaving their zipper-shaped webs outside my office window. But basically, it all zipperstarts with an idea. I often play around with the ideas in my mind for months ahead of time unless one is particularly strong. I might get into character as I work around the house or drive to the store. How does my heroine cook? How does my hero shift gears. I flesh out the characters by feeling the characters. I usually have a soundtrack/playlist that helps me choreograph different scenes or aids with characterization. And I have pretty specific ideas of what the characters look like. notaSometimes I have pictures I work from for inspiration, stock photos mostly. Historical research is intense but thankfully history doesn’t change so my research for previous books applies to current ones. Contemporary research usually revolves around learning about the area in which the book is set.

I don’t plot per se, but I also don’t pants it. I have a definite knowledge of where the story begins and ends, and tangled-string-300x199what will happen along the way, but only as I get to know the characters can I write about their reactions to what is going on. Every once in a while one will throw me a curve ball by reacting in a way that sets the plot spinning in a slightly different direction. But the end point I had in mind from the start usually is intact. By the time I actually sit down to write the story, it’s generally in my mind almost like a memory of something that’s really happened. That makes the story much more solid in my ability to tell it.
Next week, look for these blogging authors to tell you a little about their work!

ruthRuth J. Hartman, best selling author of Regency and DustmansDaughter_200x300Contemporary romances, whose best selling Regency Christmas book, Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter, will warm you on a chilly winter’s eve.

AND

kim bKim Bowman, best selling author of Regency romance and paranormal stories, and owner of the hot new digital-first publisher, esKape ePress. EskapePress(3)

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This Christmas…

IMG_0665Dear 2013 World:

I grew up in a fairly traditional family. My mum came to America from England post WWII. My dad’s mum had come over from there sometime before 1912. So my dad was scan0036born here but my mum had a lot of English traditions that she brought to the family. Somehow, it worked and we had traditional American Christmases while I was growing up. Stockings were hung, Santa visited. All of our extended family – all on my mom’s side – resided in England, so no huge family get-togethers for me. My mom, my best friend throughout my life, made every day seem like Christmas but over the holiday, it was somehow even scan0040better. She made sure we spent time Christmas shopping together, she stood in long lines to see Santa, took me to community Christmas parties where we had visits with Santa, did arts and crafts, and participated in sing-alongs. She taught me how to hide, disguise, and wrap presents, decorate a wicked Christmas tree, write and send Christmas cards. She taught me that it wasn’t what I received on Christmas but what I gave that was the most fun. And I did not get everything I asked for. But I loved everything I got.

mom n dad 023Over the years, the routine sometimes varied. My brother is a decade older than I am, so he spent some holidays away from home during his service in the US Air Force, and when he came home, he got married, and later had a daughter. Instant extended family there, because Lyn had family in northern Michigan, and sometimes my brother and sister-in-law would take me along on visits up there beginning the day after Christmas. Not too often, though, because I always discovered that I missed my parents and home.

And then I grew up and had my own family. And discovered a whole new world as the 0115MOM at Christmas time. Thankfully, I had such a wonderful example with my own mom and dad. We always tried to make Christmas special for the kids and they seemed to have fun. But alas, time continues to pass. We lost our first child at the age of 2-1/2, and the day after my sister-in-law at a young age of IMG_082140. Later, my dad, and then my niece’s first little boy, and soon after that my children’s other granddad. And most recently, only a few years agreading with gammao my mom, and now my children are grown with families of their own – each in his/her own special version. Now… I am the GRANDMA of Christmas. But sadly, we haven’t had a family Christmas where we’ve all been together for years. My oldest resides in Michigan. One of my twins is in Okinawa, where her husband is stationed with the US Marines. But even though I’m not with them, in a way, I am, for they c381547_10150463807639132_232724171_narry on a lot of the same traditions I taught them, which my mom had taught me. Mary and her husband Matt, recognizing that many of those stationed with them have no family on-base, and no way to go home for the holidays, have opened their hearts and home to celebrate with those who would otherwise be alone.

Each new role – child, mother, grandmother of Christmas – has brought to it something special. And I guess that’s the point. Life moves on. Things inevitably change, one’s perspective changes. Some memories are good, some maybe not as good, and some maybe sad or poignant as the people we love pass on and go to Jesus, or just plain cannot be with us to celebrate the holiday. There is, however, one constant – that “reason for the season,” IMG_0816Jesus Christ. I am grateful for every moment I have been able to spend on this earth, happy or sad, spent with all my family or scattered. We are all where we are supposed to be, and whether near or far, on this earth, or in heaven, there is always the glue that keeps us one family. There is always love, the perfect love that Jesus taught.

So my Christmas wishes for all of you this year are three – that you will experience a wonderful, Jesus-filled Christmas, that your hearts385965_10150424310169132_793444164_n will be filled with love and joy for others, and that you have the fellowship of family and friends holding you in their hearts.

Merry Christmas, world.

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Release day: ELECT by Rachel Van Dyken

ELECT Release Day Launch BannerI am  pleased to help spread the word about ELECT, the hot new book from Rachel Van Dyken’s Eagle Elite Series! You’ll want every book in this amazing New Adult series!!

Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family’s enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family’s sworn rival, and she Electknows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend… But Trace isn’t ready to give up on a future with Nix–and if he won’t fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .

Excerpt:

I woke up with a killer hangover. My fault. Grumbling, I took a shower and went downstairs to get some breakfast before I went over to the Space to see if Phoenix would change his tune.

“Hey.” Trace was sitting at the table eating some toast.

“Hey.” I waved. Idiot. She was sitting right in front of me.

Her eyes didn’t leave mine. I was frozen in place and could literally hear every beat of my heart in the silence.

“You’re wrong, you know.” She stood and walked toward me. “About a lot of things—everything, actually. And you’re an ass.”

“I—”

“I’m talking, you’re listening.” She smirked and grabbed the front of my shirt and pushed me toward the pantry. She slammed me against the door, pretty forcefully, I might add, and then opened it and shoved me in. I mean, I could fight her but I was too damn turned on and curious to do anything except stare at her.

“I. Want. You.” She took off her shirt. What the hell? “Only you.” Her jeans were next.

The pantry immediately became my number one favorite spot in the house.

Facing me in nothing but her scandalous white lacy underwear, she whispered in my ear. “This. What you see? What’s in front of you, it’s not just about me wanting you. I want all of you. I want to be vulnerable with you, exposed. But you have to let me…maybe the reason I don’t want to open up that part of myself to Chase is because he isn’t you, Nixon. He doesn’t have this.” She placed my hand on her bare skin right above her breast. Shit, I was slowly dying inside. Did she even realize what the hell she was doing to me?

“He doesn’t have our history, our past, our drama. I love him, you’re right. I love him so damn much that I can’t imagine life without him. But he and I—we aren’t this. So tell me, Nixon. Tell me if you want me to forget. I’ll forget what we have, if that’s really what you want. If you want me to jump into his arms without looking back, I will. But know I’ll hate you forever for giving me up.”

“I’m not,” I interrupted her. “You can’t give up something you never had.”

She slapped me hard across the face. “You promised, Nixon. You promised me.”

I kissed her hard on the mouth, clenching her wrists in my hands as I pinned her against the door. “You’re right,” I growled and pulled away. “And I’m sorry for hurting us, for hurting you, but Trace…next time you trap me in a closet, in nothing but your underwear. I will take advantage of you. I’ll screw you until you forget your own name. Don’t play with fire, and don’t mess with me. I’m still terrible for you; he’s better, and I stand by what I did. Now move out of the way before I truly lose control and steal your virginity next to the damn Cheerios.”

She crossed her arms over her chest and glared as I sidestepped her and walked out of the pantry and directly into Tex.

“Whoa!” Tex looked at my face and then lower. His smile widened. “Taking care of business in the pantry or Mrs. Butterworth just make you horny?”

“Shut up.”

“It’s cool! She’s naked, I get it!” Tex called after me, while I raced back up the stairs, grabbed my phone and keys, and then ran out of the house. Away from Trace, away from everything.

Rachel Van DykenAuthor Photo’s Bio:   Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of Regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

 Raffle Copter Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTE3MmMxYTA5NWI0YjhkMjZkNWU0YzM1M2E1YzU2Ojk3/

Links:
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
ELECT Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18210033-elect
Rachel Van Dyken Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

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She’s ba-aa-ck! Moriah Densley GIVEAWAY

KingofThreadneedleStreet 500x750We’re celebrating the re-release of Victorian romance, The King of Threadneedle Street!

Did you know Moriah Densley is not only a talented (fabulously talented!) author but an exceptionally gifted jewelry artisan as well? How about I let her tell you!
…………………………………….

Jewelry making is a hobby I’ve enjoyed for years. When writing the scene in The King of Threadneedle Street where Andrew gives Alysia a rare lavender pearl jewelry set, I went wild with my imagination. I created Victorian-style pearl, onyx, and crystal jewelry for the release-day giveaway; here’s where the inspiration came from:

     Before Alysia dressed for dinner, Marsden delivered a small white case and left without a word. She unfolded the note to see Andrew’s capricious scrawl. He wrote, Please wear these for me tonight. She unwrapped the chocolate truffles and nibbled on one as she opened the lid of the box.

She gasped — an elaborate jewelry set glowed in the lamplight. Breathtaking pearls, a smoky lavender color and set in designs she had never seen the like of. The necklace was not merely a strand, but an arrangement that resembled an elaborate tiara, or half of a snowflake. Woven into delicate patterns with graduated-sized pearls, it looked like some priceless artifact discovered in an ancient tomb.

Alysia dropped her dressing robe to hold the necklace against her collar. She fastened the clasp and tried on the matching earrings and bracelet. Exquisite. And that he’d picked the color to complement her eyes? Romantic. She looked in the mirror to see the luster of the pearls reflecting the lavender facets of her eyes, making them paradoxically smoky and bright.

Andrew knew what he was doing.

kots giveaway jewelryAnd, indeed, MORIAH knows what she is doing! Just check out a few samples of her work!

And you could win! Just go to Moriah’s website and blog to enter for a chance to win her fabulous giveaway!

ABOUT the AUTHOR

Bestselling author Moriah Densley sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, four children, and two possibly brain-damaged cats.

moriah densley cropped(1) Moriah has a Master’s degree in music, is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist, 2012 National Reader’s Choice Award winner, and ’12 NRCA “Best First Book” finalist. She’s the author of the bestselling “Rougemont” Historical Romance series from Eskape Press, and the “Network-One” Paranormal Romance series coming 2014 from Entangled Publishing. Moriah is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburger Associates.

 

 

FIND MORIAH’S WORK ON:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Kobo
All Romance eBooks
Amazon UK

FIND MORE MORIAH:

Website + blog: http://moriahdensley.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MoriahDensley
Twitter: http://twitter.com/moriahdensley
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/moriahdensley/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17826397-the-king-of-threadneedle-street

 

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