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The online ones, that is. There was just no way that the High Street was going to have something suitable for a girl built like me. When the package arrived, though, I was the one that got the surprise. Chris was at work so I had the house to myself. I rushed upstairs to our bedroom, yanked the curtains closed and tore open the parcel. Within minutes I was strapped in and staring at myself in the full-length mirror. The beautiful silk and lace garment fit perfectly, cinching my waist in without being uncomfortable or too restrictive.

I loved the way it appeared to suck in my middle and shove the excess flesh to where it was sexiest - above and below the material. My hips flared out from underneath the corset and my breasts were barely restrained in the cups at the top. They were thrust up and out like some kind of sexy offering. I looked sluttish, wanton.

Mentally, I mean. It was thrilling. I felt powerful and sexy. As I turned this way and that before the mirror, leaning forward to see if my boobs would stay put they did, just , blood started to gather in my groin, thickening my vulva and nudging my clit awake. Seriously, I looked so hot that I even wanted to have sex with myself! My eyes shone and my face was flushed and glowing. I leaned forward once more for good measure, and as I cupped and squeezed the abundant flesh that threatened to spill out, the embers that had been kindling between my thighs sparked into a full blown fire.

This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Home Books Romance. Save For Later. Create a List. Summary House of Erotica brings you a collection of sexy rubenesque short stories, sensually written by Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. I knew what I had to do.

Oh yea and she has to be pretty as well. World Castle Publishing worldcastlepublishing. Our submission guidelines can be found here. They are each holding a workshop during the online conference which takes place Aug. We encourage novels that are original and blur the genre lines. Remember, blending of genres is allowed and encouraged. Varying levels of sensuality are welcome, however all stories should have an upbeat ending.

NO depraved or illegal acts, bestiality, or pedophilia. Decadent Publishing decadentpublishing. Decadent Publishing. Indulge your book fetish. Ellysian Press ellysianpress. You can check out our current listings and get a sneak peek at a few of upcoming releases. A partial list of our releases is also included. Series are heating up the winter season. Publishers, find out what BTS can do for you! Advertising, features, covers, reviews and more! At BTS, we do more than place your authors in our magazine. We showcase your company, your authors, and your books within our digital magazine and across our entire network.

Our promotional team works hard to get you noticed! Every advertiser in our magazine will have its message seen by thousands of readers and promoted across the most popular social networks. Find out more today, contact Myra btsemag. When did you start your company and what goal did you have in mind for it? Decadent Publishing opened in the summer of Do you specialize in particular genres? Decadent Publishing is known for its wide variety of romance genres, with heat levels from somewhat sweet to erotic. We look for a quality story, one we would like to read ourselves.

We also look for an author with a presence and positive outlook in social media. And one who will be as interested in their book being the very best it can be as we are. What are some common misconceptions about publishers you think people should know the truth about? Many new authors expect their publishers to do all their marketing for them. In fact, it is a team effort. At Decadent, we put our efforts behind those expended by our authors. Is there something you would like to share with our readers or authors?

The world of digital publishing changes on almost a daily basis. Digital publishers are quality conscious and publish some of the best books available. Word count can range from 15K on up. See the submissions page on our website for more details or email us with questions: submissions decadentpublishing. How long has the company been in business and what is the goal for it? This past year Evernight celebrated its fifth year of publishing!

Our goal is and has always been to provide quality romance and urban fantasy fiction. Evernight specializes in romance of varying heat levels from sexy to scorching; urban fantasy; as well as young adult fiction with our Evernight Teen imprint. Have you ever published outside of your usual genres because the book was that good? We stay true to our brand so readers know exactly what to expect when they choose our book.

We look for manuscripts that are thoroughly edited before submitting. No head hopping. We want to see books that have well developed plots, strong conflicts, memorable characters, and dialogue. Do you try to meet your authors in person? We are not a vanity publisher. You never pay to have your book published with us. Upon final acceptance, your book will be edited, assigned an ISBN, and one of our cover artists will create an eye-catching cover.

It will be available for sale through our site and also sold at many distributors. Books that meet word count and sales requirements, either alone or in an anthology, will also be considered for POD publication through our Print Store. Send a query letter with your name, pen name if applicable , working title, word count, genre and any previous writing credits to: evernightsubmissions gmail.

Attach a one page synopsis and the complete manuscript in a Word document. We no longer accept Simultaneous Submissions We will make a decision on your submission within two to eight weeks. If you have not received a response after five weeks, please contact us. Totally Bound Publishing has been offering erotic romance titles for eight years. Our goal was to become the go-to destination for fabulous fiction.

We are the home of erotic romance in all its genres. If so, is there a reason you chose that genre? We want to be pioneers in our industry, prepared to lead where others follow. For us that means taking Erotic Romance fiction to the widest possible audience — because everyone deserves a little stimulation for their imagination. We aim to seek out, nurture and polish captivating stories with mesmerising plots and compelling characters from the most amazing authors. We are now accepting submissions within the whole genre of romance, from sweet romance to the hotter end of the scale.

What do you enjoy the most about publishing? Here at Totally Bound, we love delivering delicious stories to those who want them. We want to bring our readers those stories and to deliver maximum enjoyment with minimum fuss. For authors, we are so excited to see your submission and to welcome you into the Totally Bound family. The perfect stimulation for the imagination. Soul Mate Publishing opened in I wanted to open a house for authors whose books crossed genres.

What services do you provide? Soul Mate Publishing is a royalty-paying publisher. Our experienced editors use a hands-on approach to teach and mentor our authors to help their books rise to the next level. Consequently, Soul Mate Publishing books consistently get great reviews. We look for original stories that immediately hook us and make us want to read more. What is the hardest part of being a publisher? The most difficult part is keeping up with all the changes in the publishing industry.

Even in the five years since we opened, the publishing model has undergone many changes. Find out more on our website. I opened the doors to World Castle Publishing in March My goal at the time was to publish quality fiction and build a good reputation for myself and my authors. I still hold those same goals today. Although I publish most all fiction genres, I do specialize in romance. I am actively seeking romance. Have you ever received a submission in a non-traditional way that was interesting enough to tell us about. Not that I recall. I do get a lot of phone calls from want to be authors wanting me to publish their life story.

I look for several things. How much editing at a glance that the book will require. Do you have a limit to how many authors you publish per year? My limit more lies in my editing schedule than the number of authors. Quality edits take time. World Castle is always looking for good quality fiction to publish. Together we can all succeed.

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World Castle is also actively seeking promoters. Submission Information: All authors are invited to submit their work, including unrepresented authors, and new unpublished authors. We ask you to review our submission guidelines carefully. At this time we are only accepting electronically submitted manuscripts, and are open to most fiction genres. This is your opportunity to sell yourself and your writing to us.

Make it count. Make sure that it has been painstakingly edited and polished. Also send us a short synopsis of the book. In Sandy decided she could best help other writers by starting a publishing company that judged books by their merits, rather than the pedigree of the writers and Writers Exchange E-Publishing was born.

Read more about us on our blog. Do you attend book events or conventions? Potential ie brilliant story , decent writing, and having followed the submission instructions on our website. In your opinion, what seems to be the most productive marketing tool available today? Author Blogs, author interviews everywhere and reviews: Is there anything you would like to share with our readers or authors?

Next year I would really like to add some new blood to our team. I am looking in particular for authors with multiple books and the passion to promote themselves in partnership with WEE. Submission Information: Currently closed to submissions, will be open again in Visit our website for more information. Decatur, Georgia, Christmas Day Nikki yanked the handle of the shopping buggy. It stuck. She cursed and gave it another jerk, but it remained jammed. The man just gave you a ring. Are you really sure you want to risk cooking for him? The least we can do is show him some Southern holiday cheer.

They eat tamales on Christmas.

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What am I even going to feed him? I already have plans with that hot guy from Home Depot who delivered our Christmas tree. Everything is closed on Christmas Day. They never close for anything. Christmas is meant to be spent at home. Have it your way. The first two cases held nothing but Lean Cuisines and frozen pizzas. The third held more promise. What else is there?

Wheeling down the snack aisles, they added a big bag of pecans. Shelby paused at the breakfast foods. Shelby tossed a box of cherry Pop-Tarts into the cart. Nikki snorted. I beg you! No one ever eats that disgusting green bean casserole. Skip the veggie. She dropped in in the cart with a shrug. Tears blurred her eyes as they wheeled the cart to check out.

She made every holiday special. And no one made a better fried turkey and cornbread dressing. I even miss sitting at the kitchen table with her, stringing popcorn and making magnolia wreaths. But I sure liked the dessert. I thought that now with things settled down a bit with your brother, maybe I could entice you into taking some time off. I wanted so badly to show you how we do it Southern style. She loved having his arms around her, being cloaked in his body, in his scent.

For the record, one of the best meals I ever had was fried Spam and a can of cling peaches up in that mountain cabin with you. He tipped her face up to his, his eyes gleaming with humor and something else that made her insides quiver. Her works range from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. She lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

For more, visit www. In Providence, a story of redemptive love, your character, Edith, goes through a transformation that spans decades. How hard was it to go from playing a vibrant, young mother to an elderly person who suffers a stroke? How did your voice-over training help you in this transformation? First of all, thank you for having me here today, Danita. Playing Edith was a very welcome challenge that I was willing to commit to. It was important to me to understand that taking on this role would essentially be two different characters. It was important the distinction was made in a very clear way and that it looked authentic.

Young Edith was easy to play. She is a wealthy, savvy business woman. Her domineering mothering skills are no nonsense. It is all about independence and appearances with her. Everything has to be just so. She takes charge. She is a force to be reckoned with. When the stroke happens, I committed to it. I studied stroke victims, the signs of stroke, elderly people, whatever I could find. I also consulted medical professionals. My lips were chapped from distorting my face for a few weeks after. That was a little painful. I continued working with my body movement and was aware of how each muscle felt, and then I fell into it without thinking about it.

My body just knew. Even though this is entirely a silent film, I still used my vocal coaching. It helped immensely. When your face and body are paralyzed on one side, it makes the speech patterns slurred. I worked harder at trying to form words. You have to commit to it. In another inspirational film, Adrenaline, you act as well as serve as co-executive producer. With your husband, Del Baron, also a part of the producing team, who would you say is the perfectionist in your professional relationship? Without a doubt I would say him.

But he would say me. I have a terrible perfectionist streak, but it has mellowed over time somewhat. Many fans know you as the chemistry teacher from the Emmy award-winning film High School Musical. You play a similar role in real life, teaching acting to at-risk youth. How important is it to mentor and share your talent with others? As Bryan struggles to regain his life in the film, what tests did you experience as a supporting partner? A wonderful woman named Jan Zoesch, from the Friends of the Arts organization in rural North Carolina, asked me to be a part of their team.

I have been blessed to be a part of this program. The biggest test would be to find the people that did this to my partner and not let him or his family down. The test of having the responsibility of telling the family what happened. I was hit with all these real emotions of anger and fear of their reactions, worried to not let my partner, Bryan Andy Lauer , down.

I believe in you. You have to be the other. Mentoring is something the kids will never forget. I think I get more out of it than they do. Give opportunity where there is none. I was given a chance. I grew up poor, was bullied, and my home life was stressful. I have had incredible opportunity because I had incredible mentors even in my adult years ; they made a difference in me. I still think about their teachings and how they have helped to guide me to realize my dreams and become a better artist and person. You make a difference.

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Mentoring is a life changer. Not just for the kids but for you too Your upcoming film, Badge of Faith, is based on the true story of Bryan Lawrence, a police officer who. The true supporting partner would be his wife, Brenda. She went through all the ups and downs with him. This is a woman who has to restructure her life and their home, to make it handicap accessible, and deal with the bills to pay for wheelchairs, therapy, and such.

Knowing this person is not going to be the same as you have known him.

Bibliography and Excerpts

How did the film change your outlook on day-to-day tasks that we take for granted, like being able to pick up pen and paper and write? I feel incredibly grateful. There are no words. I realized I take simple things for granted like, brushing my teeth without effort, getting a drink of water, whenever I want or need.

In the movie it shows Bryan in his hospital bed wanting a drink of water that is just within reach next to him on his table, but he cannot have it. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel so blessed to have my hands, feet, and legs working. I have to add that the actor Andy Lauer, who portrays Bryan Lawrence, did an amazing job.

He only could act using his head and facial expressions. I realize this is how Brian Lawrence lived and how many people do live this way and what their families go through. What a beautiful feeling to know that the real Bryan Lawrence overcame his paralysis and actually walks now with crutches after being told he would never walk again.

It is an amazing testament of faith. He actually became a pastor and currently preaches. She has been invited as a guest artist to the Sundance Institute Filmmakers Lab for five consecutive years. She has studied voice-over with award-winning casting director Ginny McSwain and voice-over producer Leigh Gilbert. Santiago lives on the East Coast with her husband, producer Del Baron, and her two children.

When available, Ms. Santiago teaches acting to at-risk youth. Follow Irene on Facebook and Twitter. Danita is excited about her soon-tobe-released self-published paranormal romance, which explores the relationship between a two thousand-year-old vampire with a moral code and an ex-MI6 agent whose only believe is in self-preservation. She gets a kick out of getting into the creative minds of actors, producers, and directors. Though he broke with the Catholic Church and beheaded two of his wives, before Henry met Anne Boleyn and started misbehaving, he was actually a decent king.

He took the occasional mistress, but compared to King Francis of France, he was practically a monk. A handsome and much beloved young man, standing over six feet tall in an era when men were considered tall at five feet, ten inches, Henry played tennis, fenced, jousted, and wrote his own music. Once intended to be a prince of the church, Henry read and wrote in Greek and Latin. Ironically, with the help of his friend Sir Thomas More, Henry wrote a treatise on why Europe should reject Lutheranism and was awarded the title of Defender of the Faith by the pope.

One of the favorite festivals at court was Twelfth Night, when on the twelfth day after the birth of Christ, a Lord of Misrule would be declared and a kitchen boy might be treated as a king. With the great Yule log blazing and the halls truly decked with evergreens, it was a happy time of year.

Happy Holidays to all of you and a happy New Year. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in western North Carolina. Please visit her on her blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook. An old lover, a new love, a change of dreams…It all promises happiness. Molly is finally on her way home and one step closer to achieving her ambitions.

But with a distracting lover and danger lurking in the shadows, how is she expected to focus on getting ahead? She has never dreamt of marriage. Her aspirations lie elsewhere. Molly is the girl for him, and Logan is determined to make her his woman. No murderous villain or rival for her hand is going to prevent him from claiming her. It was fun and you really enjoyed the efforts Logan tried to use in order to make Maggie commit to him. The countess Annabella and her husband were something else. So if you want a good time and a lot of steamy moments, pick up a copy and enjoy. Reviewed by Cassandra.

She played right into his hands. But the treacherous Mississippi River childhood her mama dragged her away from finally catches up to her on a steamboat captained by her old friend Rory Campbell. This story was so different than what I usually read. Dell and Rory both have pasts with baggage. With a whole lot of adventure and suspense thrown in this novel the love and passion needed to be hot to stand out. And boy was it! There were some steamy sensual scenes that burned the pages!! The was a couple distractions in there, like some scenes were a bit disjointed, but overall it was a great read!

Reviewed by Nelle. A disillusioned Scottish gentlewoman. Angelina Ellsworth once believed in love--before she discovered her husband of mere hours was a slave-trader and already married. To avoid the scandal and disgrace, she escapes to the estate of her aunt and uncle, the Duke and Duchess of Waterford. A privileged English lord.

Flynn, Earl of Luxmoore, led an enchanted life until his father committed suicide after losing everything to Waterford in a wager. Stripped of all but his title, Flynn is thrust into the role of marquis as well as provider for his disabled sister and invalid mother. Reluctant to wed a stranger, but willing to do anything to protect her babe and escape the clutches of the madman who still pursues her, Angelina agrees to the union.

flesh spills and secret thrills rubenesque erotica book 1 Manual

Can the earl and his Scottish lass find happiness and love in a marriage neither wanted, or is the chasm between them insurmountable? Review: This is a story of two souls finding each other after betrayal and tragedy. Angelina thought she met the love of her life in Charles Moreau, her new husband. After learning of his betrayal, she swears off men. These two characters are compassionate individuals, it was so nice to see the love blossom between them. The plot was full of fun interesting twists and turns, it kept me reading into the night. Some readers might feel all the drama was a bit too much and while it could lose a few of the twists and still be a great novel, I felt it worked.

I enjoyed the secondary characters a lot! Her days are spent running her respectable butcher shop and dodging prohibition agents and rival club owners who all want to put her out of business. While their hearts dodge the crossfire, the mobsters raise the stakes, and even The Phoenix may not rise again.

I adored this book! This was so descriptive, I could visualize the settings perfectly. The slang was delightful! Jessie was one kickass speakeasy owner and Tony was a devious pretender! I adored them both and love they found in each other was fantastic. I loved how that worked out. The Earl of Marcham has decided to put the excesses of his colorful youth firmly behind him so that he may find a wife and beget himself an heir. But a straitlaced spinster may stand in his way after she releases a morality pamphlet exposing some of his most private misdemeanors.

Determined to have his revenge and teach her a much-needed lesson, the earl decides that his best course of action is to seduce her… Miss Georgiana Blakelow has long given up the hope of marriage. She might succeed, if only the wretch of an earl who won the estate at the gaming table would be reasonable. As the sparks fly, and as Lord Marcham finds himself unexpectedly attracted to Miss Blakelow, she becomes even more determined to keep him at a safe distance.

There is a lot more to Georgiana then we see at first. She has lots of secrets with the potential to blow up her, on again off again, romance with the earl. The story started off a bit slow but as it progressed it got really convoluted. The romance did come to be an enjoyable ending, though. Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits.

Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble. The eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society-even if it does frequently land her in trouble. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble. Review: I loved this book! Olivia fits nicely into the picture. Olivia and Johns romance was so sweet! How to Seduce a Scot The plan is simple: 1.

Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season; 2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord; 3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized ton can get any ideas. Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything-even the English. Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She could not quite remember why she was angry with Alexander. She liked him. She knew he liked her. There was not much else to think about when it came to a man and a girl. As Mr.

Waters drove her home in the busy traffic of the Mayfair streets, she leaned comfortably against his arm and looked at the sky. She could not see it properly, for her bonnet blocked her view, as it always did. She pulled away from Alexander for a moment and reached for the ribbons of her bonnet. Please keep your bonnet on. I am tired of not being able to see properly. I want this bonnet off. She sighed, and tossed the bonnet at her feet, where the ribbons fluttered at her gaily.

May I call you Alex? I doubt that, but if it is, I have another at home that will suffice for everyday use, and one for Sundays. The hairpins seemed to be sticking into her scalp more than usual, and she needed to loosen one or two. She reached up and drew out the two largest hairpins. She drew two more pins out, and then two more, until her entire head of hair had fallen around her in a mass of curls. Her reticule was caught under her thigh, so she simply tossed the pins into the street. A lady does not disrobe on a public street, in an open carriage, in the full light of day.

Finally, someone besides herself was blushing! What a lovely change that made. Emboldened by the heightened color on his handsome face, she leaned close to him again, sliding her hand up his muscled arm. His tight coat did not do him justice, it seemed. The muscles leaped beneath her gloved hand, radiating warmth and coziness and a tiny bit of danger. But his hands were occupied with the horses…what could one tiny bit of danger matter?

Since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. She loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in western North Carolina. Have Fairy Tales Flown the Coop? Some of the continuing enthusiasm has to do with new releases in series, but debuts and more twisted variations are cropping up with just as much talent and innovation backing them as earlier incarnations.

Given the sizeable displays and shelf space designated for fairy tales in the young adult section, these stories have found their staunchest support in the teenage community. Well, a large cause is the historical target audience combined with traditional young adult themes. Fairy tales were aimed as stories for children back in the days of the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, and while all ages can enjoy, the demographic had no need to shift.

Teenagers today can still associate with the heroes and heroines of the older stories because same as the characters, they fight with wicked stepparents and long to meet their one true loves. Part of the reason fairy tales need a makeover lies in the audience as well—after all, teenagers nowadays are a lot more cynical than the early readership of those stories. Authors today do away with the preachiness of the originals to further attract the young adult audience. Another reason these fairy tale stories continue to claim the shelves lies in the popularity of blending fairy tale universes, like Marissa Meyer does in her Lunar Chronicles.

After all, the thrill of crossover characters keeps audiences hooked, 64 btsemag. And to those who might believe Oz is done and over with, Danielle Paige is here to prove you wrong. In a recognizable landscape of Nottingham, this series brings a new character like Scarlet to a familiar cast and landscape. By introducing someone fresh to interact with, a different tale develops, and oftentimes, these intrepid teenage heroes are the ones the target audience can identify with.

Katherine McIntyre place with so many changes in friends, classes, and life in general, the familiarity of the characters they grew up with offers refuge. Another beloved story to recreate is Alice in Wonderland, and the Splintered series by A. Howard does a great job at adding a spin to such a unique universe and making it a more fleshed out and developed entity. Alice in Wonderland has such a fantastic array of eccentrics and villains just begging to be recreated, and the latest book, Ensnared Splintered, 3, Harry N. Abrams—available now , continues that trend. After all, for a teen obsessed with Robin Hood or a dashing Prince Charming, who could pass up an opportunity to follow the character into another realm?

For teens who are looking to escape into a different realm with memorable characters from the movies or fairy tales they read and watched when they were little, these young adult reads present the best transition. While school life can be a terrifying. With a desire to travel and more imagination than she knows what to do with, all the stories jumping around in her head led to the logical route of jotting them down on paper. Surprisingly, a woman shows up there as an apparition, offering something Kayla had been longing for all her life, a forever home.

Not just any home, Tia Keating runs a group home for teens with special gifts…gifts like the ones Kayla has spent years running from. If she had looked down she would have noticed the whisper of flames, golden sparks leaping from her skin. An icy breath of wind fluttered through her long dark bangs and extinguished the fire. Kayla squinted as the grit from the train tracks blew in her face. She turned her body, so the wind was at her back, and hunkered down deeper into her jean jacket.

She flipped up the collar, but the old thing provided little warmth. She would have worn her winter coat, but Tracy had stolen it. Foster care sucked, and what the thieving bitch had done was mild, compared to what other fosters had done to her. The throbbing ache in her ribs was a gift from her current foster brother. Numbing herself out was her only way of dealing with the crap in her life. She bit her ragged black fingernail, tearing into a raw cuticle and causing it to bleed.

She had cut school to get some peace. Not after what happened this morning. Getting jumped was just a fact of her life. Cruise will always lose. How childish was that? Kayla sniffed. Unfortunately, all her best comebacks occurred to her long after a fight. A lot of good it would do her now. She hated seeming weak, but her words just locked up inside her when confronted.

The only things the bullies loved more than her silence, were her tears. One fateful evening in , only child and latchkey kid year old Brenna Bianco caves into peer pressure and blatantly ignores her parents request to remain home while they are out. Venturing on an apparently harmless neighborhood bike ride with her cousin Sara and their mutual friend Mary, Brenna wakes the next morning to realize Mary never returned home.

When an overzealous police officer accuses Brenna of foul play, she must rely on her amateur police skills and ingenuity to redeem herself. She wiped her forehead with the back of her hand wondering which was worse, being slow-roasted from the sun beating down, or being smothered from the heat rising up off the scorching pavement. She felt as if she were being steam pressed. The heavy humidity caused her short brown hair to spring into sweaty ringlets over her forehead and along the back of her neck. Even in the heat chills climbed her spine, like when someone scraped their fingernails down a blackboard.

Otherwise, her mother would simply shout. Again, Brenna wiped away sweat, this time from the back of her neck before she tossed the softball to Toby. Wearing his New York Yankees baseball cap backward, he stood only about an inch taller than Brenna. They probably could have passed for brother and sister accept he wore his hair cropped short to his head. Francis, her nine-year-old neighbor, guarded it as if it were his own. Brenna sailed down the street and up her driveway. Her dad was waiting on the front porch, dressed in black slacks and a gray shirt, unusually spiffy compared to his usual tattered jeans, T-shirt, and work boots.

When eighteen-year-old Mattison Burr jumps off a pier into a hurricane and survives, she must learn to withstand the storm within herself. Confronted as outsider in her own world, Mattison develops an unhealthy girl crush on her best friend and rejects the boy her parents always dreamed she would be with. Once she discovers her truth, will she be rewarded?

It stings. I step out into my backyard, inviting the wind to fill my lungs. There is a hurricane curving inland towards the coast of North Carolina. My ears are buzzing. I feel the cool, damp crab grass crisscrossing around my ankles as the wisps of wind chills my arm. The smell of salt water gets caught in my throat. My body is a fireplace, and I am huffing and puffing. I am my own hell.

My eyes are open. The sky is lined with gray, and I see coarse, black clouds weaving back and forth in front of me. In another life, I will be anything I want to be. Protection is too far gone, even from myself. I hate who I am. No longer a petite sun-kissed beach bum, I am a horrible freakish monster. I could catch its howls with my mouth and record it. My hair blows to the side of my face and wraps tightly around my neck.

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It is unforgiving. Moaning, Whipping, Twirling, the bustling clouds have turned nasty. The ferocious wind is my compass without a magnetic force. Grabbing me under my elbows and knees, it moves me. Beads of sand whisk my face, and it tingles with familiarity; am I home now that I have sale on my lips? The gem in lesbian publishing. Sapphire Books Publishing is a company that currently only publishes lesbian fiction. They ended up at the same diner as many times before since the start of their freshman year in September. Faith giggled opposite him, and he glared at her. Why on earth did she have to target him?

There was something about her that made him feel different than any other girl. Until recently, that something had been their friendship. But lately. He noticed Faith was getting intrigued by their exchange. He was probably protesting a bit too fiercely. Their cozy silence was disturbed by a gush of cold wind that entered through the door. He turned to look and saw an old woman dressed in a long skirt and a wide coat. She wore white sneakers, which were completely inappropriate for the slush outside, and her wrists were burdened with numerous metal bracelets.

Rob started to blush but tried to hide it behind anger and derision. Faith watched her, amused, while Rob was already shaking his head no. But that was only one of the things he liked about her. They scattered across the table. She caught up with him on the sidewalk. They walked in silence toward their dorm rooms. He was deeply in thoughts. He knew she had been making things up, but she had guessed his situation accurately. Her words reminded him of the ridiculous situation he had found himself in.

That was not his purpose; he was just trying to get rid of the woman. The fortune-teller stared, transfixed in the cards in front of her. What was even worse was that it would soon be Christmas, and he would spend it alone. His mom went to see her sister, and all his friends went home to their families. So much for the holidays.

Later that afternoon, Faith and Rob were supposed to meet to go see a movie at the local theater. Quite the opposite. After another silent walk through the neighborhood, Faith smiled, amused. She was met with a pair of deeply shocked eyes. They sounded like kids, Rob thought. But better that than Faith finding out his secret since that would definitely spoil his holidays, and he feared much more than that.

And he wanted to bite his tongue off for so carelessly admitting everything. He knew he was trapped now. She would never let it go, and he could never tell her. He felt like he was lying to her, but he was well aware that was the only way. The realization that it would always be like that made him feel miserable. She probably expected to get more information to torture him with, he thought. He hoped the discussion was over as they reached their seats, but then she spoke again. I want some answers. I want to know why, who, and how.

He rolled his eyes at her words. You know that, right? Rob leaned back in his seat and thought about it. She makes me laugh. The silence only lasted a moment. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were the two worst days of the year to be alone. He had become so miserable he even considered going to midnight mass to get out of his room. On the spur of the moment, he decided to go see Faith. She had told him that she would maybe go visit her parents over the holidays, but maybe, just maybe, she stayed on campus because the snowstorms made driving impossible.

As soon as the door opened, he heard several voices in the room. He noticed she was dressed in a gorgeous chocolate-brown dress. She looked wonderful. He followed her into the room, and he saw her friends, Emily and Dana, were there. He looked at Faith, confused. Dana waved her fingers at Rob and blew him a kiss.

He rolled his eyes at her, but she just laughed merrily. Faith brought him some cookies to go with the coffee. She sat down next to him on the bed. We could have a proper Christmas dinner. He watched the snowflakes that stuck onto his jeans. You think sex is the only reason for me being in a good mood. She leaned across him to get a cookie.

He almost jumped when she came too close. It was too much for his senses. I just like being with her. Faith smiled strangely at him, and he felt the beginning of a blush. He decided it was time for him to leave before he made any more stupid mistakes. Faith called him on Christmas Day. They agreed to meet in the afternoon and go for a walk. Rob kicked himself for not thinking about it before.

Faith wrapped her coat tighter around herself. It was already dark at five in the afternoon, but the white snowflakes made it look like it was daylight when the streetlamps shone through them. Called him Grinch and took great pleasure in snowballing him. When have I ever? For a change. When he looked at her, there was a mischievous grin on her lips. Just not the way you mean. They stopped at the park where there was a skating rink. They watched the people on the ice, and they had quite a few laughs when they observed the kids and adults alike losing their balance, falling, and getting up, only to fall again.

Colorful shadows danced on the ice from the lights in the paper lanterns. Christmas songs could be heard from the loud speakers and the kids shouted with glee. The snowy blanket on the ground and the tiny snowflakes raining down on their heads only added to the festive atmosphere. They stood by the rink for a while, but then Rob pointed to a line of benches underneath a tent.