Book Spotlight · Romance · Short Stories

Book Spotlight: No Crayons on the Front Line by Kallysten

Dearest Angel,

I came home after watching you walk out of the cafe like last time. Itís not getting any easier to let you go.

Not that Iíd ever dare holding you back, but part of me still wishes I could.

These past few days with you have been lovely. No, lovely is the wrong word.

Theyíve been wonderful.

Is wonderful even enough? My vocabulary seems strangely limited at the moment.

Iíd have been happy to do like during your first visit and simply meet you every day for a couple of hours or whatever we could have. Just being with you, sitting in the park or in a cafe, chatting, laughing together, all of that is already ñ lovely, wonderful, a dozen other things. But itís nothing compared to how I felt when I found you at my door Sunday afternoon with your travel bag over your shoulder.

I wanted to ask what happened with your family to make you seek refuge with me, but I suppose I already know. Youíve made it clear that their disapproval about your choice of career is both vocal and ongoing, and I didnít want to twist that knife a little more when I could see on your face just how tired, how hurt you were. Just know that, should you wish to talk about it, Iíll always be here to listen.

You have no idea just how much I wanted to call in sick for the week, knowing youíd be in my home when I was supposed to be at school. If I could have been sure my students would be taken care of in my absence, I would have done it. Unfortunately, weíre short on both teachers and substitutes, and as I told you, I didnít feel right requesting a leave on such short notice. You said it was fine, and I think you meant it, but would you have told me if it had bothered you? I hope so.

I usually stay at school for a little while after the day ends, but this week I think I waited for the final bell with more impatience than my students. Coming home when I knew youíd be there, waiting for me, wasÖ again, what comes to mind is lovely and wonderful. I havenít lived alone for very long, but I must have been lonely, more so than I realized. Coming home when I knew Iíd have someone to cook dinner for, someone to eat with, someone with whom to go out and sit in the yard to talk as night fell on us, even someone in the house with me at nightÖ It felt special. Very special.
Or maybe it was special because it was you.

You must be wondering by now if I found the letter you left here or not, as I havenít mentioned it so far. I did find it, Angel dear. And read it. And read it again. I think Iíve read it five times already, or maybe six. And every time I do, itís the same fire burning inside me, the same need to tell you, yes. To all that, yes.

Yes I too wanted more than a kiss on that last night we spent under the same roof.

Yes I too wondered whether sharing more than a kiss would be for the best.

Yes you were the first person I ever kissed ñ and if Iím completely honest, the first one I ever truly wanted to kiss.

Yes you were the first person I touched, and as innocent as these touches remained, I still feel as though my fingers are burning from the memory of your warmth.

Yes that night when I went to bed I tried to imagine what it would have felt like to touch your actual skin. I wondered about how smooth it would be. I wondered about scars, as you have mentioned them. I wondered if youíd let me caress or kiss them, or whether youíd prefer to hide them from me. I wondered about your hands on me too, and whether the first touch from your fingers might be the one to make me come undone.

I wondered, and I imagined, and I hoped. And now, your letter makes me yearn a little more for your next leave, if that was even possible.

I hope youíll want to stay with me again. I hope thereíll be more kisses for us to share. And more than kisses, too.

There is much more Iíd like to say, but I donít know if theyíre words youíd care to read.

Just know that I remain,

Yours
Samuel

Book Spotlight · Historical · Paranormal · Romance · Series

Book Spotlight: Repeating History – Time in Yellowstone series by M. M. Justus

I woke to the sun in my eyes. I picked a couple of stray pine needles out of the fuzz on my face, pulled off my glasses and sat up, leaning back on one hand and rubbing my eyes with the other before I put them back on. Something had waked me. I couldn’t place it, couldn’t see it, couldn’t even feel anything but the normal dizziness. I lay back down and stretched, then slowly climbed to my feet, leaning on the stump for support. 

Down in the valley, nothing had changed. Or, nothing had changed back. Everything seemed so ordinary, and yet so un-ordinary. I felt like Rip van Winkle. 

The shadows moved across my face, the sun blinding me momentarily before it moved on, half a hundred times. Old Faithful, living up to its name, erupted, once, twice, three times? I wasn’t keeping count. 

The sun had moved far enough to quit flashing in my eyes as it shifted when I heard the sounds. Thin and wispy, at first I thought my senses were playing tricks on me again. Then I thought, birds? Squirrels? The sound of a neigh brought me bolt upright, then to my feet. I stood, swaying.

A trail of dust, like it had been thrown up behind a car on a dirt road, lofting into the sky behind what? I couldn’t see for the thicket of trees. I grabbed my stick and plunged headlong down the hill.

Three steps and I was bounding, two more, and nothing could have slowed me down. Three bounds after that, my foot caught on a branch, and I went sprawling. I hauled myself up, swiped the blood from my streaming nose on my shirtsleeve, and ran on. 

The slope leveled out not much farther on. Springs and pools and bare ground signaling thin crust were everywhere. I stopped a moment to wipe my bloody nose again, and to breathe while I looked for the dust trail. It was gone.

I landed on the ground with a hollow thump. It told me maybe I shouldn’t be sitting on that spot, but I didn’t much care.

I shook myself. Had I imagined the dust cloud, too? My nose finally stopped bleeding, although it ached like a son of a gun. I fell back against the hard ground and shivered, trying to think. It took all my effort, not only mentally, but physically.  

It was then it hit me. If all this was a hallucination, it wasn’t going to be any good to go looking for that dust. If I wasn’t hallucinating, then I wasn’t where I thought I was in the first place. Screwed both ways. 

But if this was real, what happened? And if this wasn’t real, where was I and how did I get back out of this rabbit hole? 

Questions chased themselves around in my brain like a dog chases its tail. I had way too many of them, and not a single answer to be found, anywhere, at any price. 

It was then I began to hear the voices.

I went stock still and strained my ears.  Yes, voices, drifting in on the breeze, faint, but unmistakably human.

I couldn’t make out the words. Men’s voices, baritone and tenor, and one shrill soprano. They gradually got louder, then one of the geysers went off, and I couldn’t hear anything for a few minutes. I wondered if they’d still be there.

A woman’s voice, the words suddenly as clear as if she were declaiming onstage. “She’s just a little girl, William. You’re too hard on her.”

My head jerked up. That had to be real. 

The deep-voiced man was speaking again. I homed in on the sound, and began to walk. Fast. Well, run, actually. Carefully. Sort of.

Who am I fooling? Those were the first human voices I’d heard in I don’t know how many days. I stumbled, legs wobbly, head spinning, across the meadow towards them.

Author recommendations · Book Spotlight · Romance

Book Spotlight: Fashioned for Power by Kathleen Brooks

As she headed back to her room, she looked back at the flowers. A card stuck out the side. She wondered if Finn had written something sweet or something naughty to her. Allegra grinned with anticipation as she reached for the red envelope and pulled out the white card. She turned it over. There was only one word written on it . . . Whore.

Allegra felt her knees give out as she collapsed on the floor. He was here. Harry was here. Clutching the phone, she struggled to enter her passcode. Her fingers shook and she kept hitting the wrong buttons. With every wrong number, she felt her vision blur. She struggled to breathe. Finally she entered the right numbers and called the only person who knew the truth.

“Damien, he’s here. He’s in New York.”

———————————

Damn Harry. He was ruining friendships and relationships. It took her months just to trust Finn enough to tell him what was going on, and now she had the feeling that she got the brush-off tonight. She would have to talk to him tomorrow. Maybe Harry threatened him. Finn loved her; she knew he did. Threatening her was the only reason that Finn would back away from her. This relationship meant too much for her to sit back and do nothing as it fell apart.

“Here, honey, have a piece of pie. It’ll put a smile on that beautiful face,” her mother said as a slice of pumpkin pie was placed in front of her.

“Thank you, Mom,” Allegra smiled. She felt better. She wasn’t going to sit back and watch life happen to her. No, she was going to take a page out of her sisters’ book and go after what she wanted.

“You know what else will put a smile on your face . . .?”

“Shirley!” the women all groaned as Nate and Reid laughed. The bodyguard could only cringe.