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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors: Never Trust a Pretty Wolf

Welcome to Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors, your chance to sample the work of a talented group of authors. When you finish here you can find more snippets at:

http://www.wewriwa.com   

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnippetSunday/

For the last few months I've been sharing excerpts from Turnaround Farm, but today I'm sharing from another book, Never Trust a Pretty Wolf. We'll begin with Chapter One. I'm posting the same thing I posted last Sunday because I forgot to sign up. So forgive me if you've already read this.

Blurb:
Liesel Wolf has a secret, a dangerous secret she’ll go to any lengths to conceal. When she’s paired in a charity game with sexy marshal Andy Bryce, a man with secrets of his own, her carefully constructed world comes crashing down, and Liesel’s on a collision course with her past.


Last week:
Excerpt


Saturday Sample: Never Trust a Pretty Wolf

Welcome to Saturday Sample. Today we'll continue to share excerpts from Never Trust a Pretty Wolf.

Blurb:
Liesel Wolf has a secret, a dangerous secret she’ll go to any lengths to conceal. When she’s paired in a charity game with sexy marshal Andy Bryce, a man with secrets of his own, her carefully constructed world comes crashing down, and Liesel’s on a collision course with her past.


Excerpt: 
Chapter One

Last Week
The man’s glasses sat slightly askew on his nose, but his blue eyes were large and shrewd. He saw Andy and exclaimed, “You must be Andy Bryce. I’m Thomas Melton. Come in. Everyone’s here now, except for your partner.”

Andy held out his hand. “Thank you for...”

He broke off as tires squealed on the highway. The Mustang’s driver overshot the driveway and had to back up to take the turn. “My partner?” he asked.

This week:

Friday, November 29, 2019

See Me


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. L. Simpson will be awarding a $10 Boroughs Bucks to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Architect Ethan James's life is a mess. He's juggling being a single dad while fighting his infuriating ex who's trying to get full custody, while at the same time he's barely keeping his head above water in the job of his dreams. When he meets Mia Sullivan at a friend's engagement party, her bright spirit and kind heart shines a light into his life when he needs it most. With so much coming at him from all directions, he relies on Mia’s support but makes the heartbreaking mistake of not cherishing her love. Mia sees the writing on the wall and pulls back before her heart is shattered. Ethan can't lose the woman who makes his life complete, and shows her he is the man she needs him to be.

Read an Excerpt

After looping an arm through mine, she led me a few blocks before we came to an old building with a dodgy-looking doorway. I’d never been here before, but that didn’t mean much. We stayed joined as we walked up some old steps to a new-looking elevator with a security guard waiting in front. He pressed the button and we stepped inside.

“Don’t look worried, Ethan. We aren’t going to a CIA black site.”

I grinned. Eventually, the elevator stopped and we came out onto a rooftop in the CBD, which was bustling with people drinking and eating. It was another reminder at how much of the world I hadn’t explored yet. We walked to the edge and sat at a bar looking down over the busy city streets in the sunset.

“What’s your poison?” she asked.

I stood. “This is my shout. What can I get you?”

“Something white and dry. And can you get a menu? I’m starved.”

“How about I order?”

She nodded. I went to the bar and ordered fries, wings, and sliders, then brought my beer and her wine back. She smiled up at me, unguarded for a moment, giving me those sexy dimples that featured in my fantasies. Then the shutters came down, and what had happened between us hung heavy in the air.

“Mia, I want to apologise for how I was that weekend. I wasn’t meaning to lead you on. I was too drawn to you, having too much fun, and I forgot for a moment how my life actually is. I should’ve held back because I couldn’t do what we might’ve had any justice. I never wanted to hurt you. I was being selfish and I’m sorry.”

She didn’t speak for a long moment, taking a large sip of wine, and I held my breath. “I’m not going to lie, I was hurt. But when I saw you this afternoon, I got it. Complicated is right. Be kind to yourself. It looks like you have enough on your plate.” She gripped my hand and squeezed.

I squeezed it back, needing her to understand how much it meant to me, but knowing my words would come up short.

“But now it’s time to share your burden with me,” she said. “Tell me all about how you of all people ended up with a woman like that.”

I wanted to laugh as she said the word that like it was a bitter taste in her mouth. Instead, I sighed because I hated recounting the story of my life.

About the Author: As a girl growing up in Australia, Laura was lost in the world of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. During high school, volleyball dominated her life. There had to be something positive about being 6’1” with red hair. Representing Australia from a young age she eventually took a scholarship at the University of Iowa. Living in America and being a full time athlete in a college town was an eye-opening experience and lots of fun (from what she can remember). #gohawkeyes

Returning from the States, her career took a different turn as she started working at the Red Cross and completed her Masters of Law in Human Rights. As one of the few non-lawyers in the class, her essays were far more floral than the rest, something that caused the discerning professors to shake their heads. Through working and studying, she realised there are other ways to win hearts and minds.

While she’s spent the last 14 years as an advocate against poverty and homelessness, the desire to change the world through storytelling has only got stronger. She now lives in the Alpine Valleys of North East Victoria, Australia with her husband, daughter, son, two dogs and seven chooks. When she’s not doing the whole mum thing, working at a homelessness agency, renovating her farmhouse, or trying to do laundry bleary-eyed at midnight, she is writing.

Say G’day to Laura:

Website: http://www.lsimpsonauthor.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/l.simpson.romance
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lsimpsonauthor
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/lsimpsonauthor
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-simpson-47278971

BUY LINKS:

http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/see-me
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/see-me-l-simpson/1133838822?ean=9781951055202
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YDL2SV6
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/960078
https://books2read.com/u/b5QBYR
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/see-me-28
https://linkmaker.itunes.apple.com/en-us/details/1481621816

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Invisibles


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel Dacus will be awarding a $40 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sisters Saffron and Elinor inherit a cottage on the Italian coast from their father, along with its resident ghost and a secret manuscript. Their rivalry explodes through a struggle for control of the inheritance.

Saffron has a genius for creative living, but ever since her judgmental older sister interfered in her love life, Saffron and Elinor haven’t spoken. When death brings them together at their father’s funeral in Rome, the battle re-ignites. It continues as they travel up the Italian coast to take possession of their cottage. Both secretly wish to mend fences, but they have opposite views about the best way to live.

Saffron has always sensed the “Invisibles”, people lingering after their demise. When the spirit who lives in the house predicts one sister might die, she takes it seriously, but can’t convince her practical-minded sister.

As they prepare the house for sale, Italy infuses its magic in food, festivals, and local love interests -- until a shocking night changes everything for the sisters and their friends.

A tale of sisterhood and the supernatural, perfect for fans of Mary Ellen Taylor and Barbara O'Neal.

PRAISE FOR THE INVISIBLES

Author Dacus does a superb job bringing the village of Lerici to life, from the smells of the sea to the pungency of the local olive oil, and showing how the Italian way of life changes both women. An enjoyable, romantic read. -- Suanne Schafer, author of HUNTING THE DEVIL

Read an Excerpt

Michael pulled her down the street. They turned right at the bottom of the hill and onto the beach promenade. Walking alongside the water, today full of white curlicues, Saffron looked up at the green hills. In the clear light, they looked fresh-minted.

The pressure of his hand intensified. “The hidden beach is wild and perfect, he said. “Like you."

Dazzled by this compliment, she walked along, more aware of Michael’s hand than of the wide swath of beach, dotted with beach chairs. The benches were nearly empty, the wind driving everyone indoors.

“Just a bit farther,” he said, tugging her along.

Their speed throbbed in Saffron’s pulse. The hidden cove, they both knew, was a pretext and a preamble—a pre-amble. Excitement tightened her throat, making her breath catch as she trotted beside him. He was so tall and his hand never loosened its grip.

She was going to have an adventure in Italy. His hand kept her locked into it, any doubt falling away.

They came to a sign: “Beach Behind Castle.” A few more signs directed them to a marble arch over a tunnel beneath the building. They darted into the darkness holding hands, the path level, though impossible to see under- foot. They came out at a small, brilliantly white beach. The surf seemed higher now, pounding the shore steadily with dark, frilled swells. “Do people swim here? I mean, when it’s not so windy?”

“They do. No one’s here yet, but by afternoon I bet the beach will be full. People who know the secret of this place love it.”

They took off their shoes and walked closer to the surf. Saffron scooped up a shell and put it in her pocket. “A souvenir.” Of more than the beach.

On the way back, Michael stopped at a corner and pointed up a steep cobblestone street. “My little castle’s up there. I bring home all the goddesses I meet. Would you care to visit?”

The rash compliment went to her head like a quickly quaffed glass of champagne. “Sure.” This was it. The real adventure, not the hidden beach.

“Come, my Artemis,” he said.

They climbed a short distance and turned down an even narrower alley. He stopped at a turquoise wooden door with a lintel low enough that he had to duck his head entering.

“The gate to my modest tower.”

Saffron paused long enough to wonder if she was stepping into another mess with someone she hardly knew. But if she stopped now, she’d never find out what it was like to be a goddess.

When they were inside the doorway, he hesitated, but didn’t kiss her. What would his lips feel like? Instead, he led her up narrow stairs that turned on a landing with a small window. She glimpsed the hills, and then they went up the last few steps.


About the Author:
Rachel Dacus is the author of The Invisibles, a novel of sisterhood with a touch of the supernatural. “An enjoyable, romantic read.” The Renaissance Club is a time travel love story featuring the great 17th century Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini, who meets and falls for his superfan from future time. “Enchanting, rich and romantic.” Dacus has written four poetry collections: Arabesque, Gods of Water and Air (poetry, prose, and drama), Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau. She lives in Northern California with her husband and Silky Terrier. When not writing, she raises funds for good causes.

Website: http://www.racheldacus.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachel.dacus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rachel_Dacus
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rdacus/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/987726.Rachel_Dacus

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Audition



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Skye Warren will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Blood and sweat. Bethany Lewis danced her way out of poverty. She’s a world class athlete… with a debt to pay.

Joshua North always gets what he wants. And the mercenary wants Bethany in his bed. He wants her beautiful little body bent to his will.

She doesn’t surrender to his kiss.
He doesn’t back down from a challenge.
It’s going to be a sensual fight… to the death.

Read an Excerpt:

Blinding lights. Aching lungs. Thunderous applause. The final show concludes the same way we rehearsed for months, the same way we performed for weeks. My muscles know the movements better than they understand rest. The prospect of after, of what comes next, makes my breath catch. Even as the primas take their bows, relief echoes around the stage. Vacations are planned. Relief for strained muscles. Everyone needs a break, even professional athletes. I’m the only one onstage dreading it.

We bow and curtesy with practiced grace. The curtain descends to the floor. Almost to the second we break formation—a flock of crows startled from the woods. The more exuberant among us, the young ones, the new ones, the ones using steroids, prance and jete toward the dressing rooms. Most of us limp our way out. One hundred percent of NFL players are injured every season. Professional dancing is the same. We hurl our bodies through the air, forcing massive impact through tired joints night after night. I catch my friend Marlena in my arms. Her face is white with pain.

“Ice,” she says. “Or better yet—tequila.”

I push my shoulder under hers as we exit the stage. “Don’t sell yourself short. You can have both.”

A delicate snort. “Not likely. We have to smile and flirt with the old men with big, fat wallets. And for what? I won’t be here next season. You won’t be, either.”

The reminder clangs inside me like a copper bell. I won’t be coming to the New York City Ballet after the break. We fall into our creaky chairs in the dressing room. “Are you going to miss it?”

“Miss it? Of course I’ll miss it.” Marlena turned twenty-eight last month. It’s comfortably retirement age for a dancer. “When the little children do their terrible pirouettes, when they sneeze and throw up and cry all over my leotard, I’ll think fondly of the beautiful art I left behind. Then I’ll be able to walk home. That won’t happen if I try to dance another season.”

“You’ll make a wonderful teacher. You know you were mine.” She didn’t teach me to dance. It was my first love, before I learned to flip and contort myself. Before I ever leapt from a trapeze bar.

Marlena taught me the ropes of the ballet company when I joined two years ago. Most of them thought I wouldn’t last a week. Some of them didn’t want me to. It’s a rigid world, the hierarchy stacked with graduates of Juilliard or the John Cranko school.

I don’t have a pedigree.

All I have is a body that does what it must, no matter how much it hurts.

Which means changing out of my sweaty leotard into a fresh one. We’re contractually obligated to attend the ball. Like Marlena said, we should smile and flirt with the high society people who attend. Both the male and female dancers have to do it. It’s what convinces the sponsors to write checks that will fund the next season. By the time they’re rehearsing The Nutcracker I’ll be in New Orleans, the place I swore I’d never return.

About the Author: Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat. Website: http://www.skyewarren.com/books/audition/

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Audition-Skye-Warren-ebook/dp/B07VZTRXJ3
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/audition/id1475290521
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/audition-skye-warren/1132969928

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Beyond the Book: Advertisements

Have you ever been swayed by the appeal/cleverness of an ad for one particular brand to switch from another that you generally used?

Years ago I had a stove with old-fashioned coiled eyes. It worked fine, but it sure did get dirty and discolored as time went by. The look of the thing annoyed me so I spent time scrubbing and trying to clean it up. It was hard work, and I was never really pleased with it.

One night my husband and I accidently found one of those infomercials that used to come on TV. They probably still do, but I don’t ever watch them. Anyway, the program was advertising a stove cleaner. They sprayed their product into a dirty oven, and just like that the grime melted off and could be wiped away with a cloth. They also demonstrated how great the product worked on the metal rings and pan underneath the coiled stove eyes. 

This method of cleaning looked a lot easier than what I’d been doing so I wrote down the phone number and called to place my order. Of course it was eventually time to try it. To my shock the baked on debris didn’t just wipe off. You had to use a LOT of elbow grease. I wasn’t crushed by this failure, but I was disappointed. 

So what did I learn about believing all the claims made by advertisements? Take them with a grain of salt, and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I did change my dish washing liquid after watching a commercial, and it does work well, but the dish still doesn’t wash itself. 

I’m older now, and it’s hard for an ad to sway me into changing from a product that I like. I mainly pay attention to ads for things I’m looking to buy.  How about you? Are you a pushover for advertisements?

Murmur of Love

Title: Murmur of Love
Series: Texas Solace Series #1
Author: Nicole Ann Nielsen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 21, 2019
"A cowboy, a supermodel, and a marriage of convenience.
A recipe for disaster . . . or a Southern fairytale?
Cecelia Carlsen, supermodel, entrepreneur and philanthropist, thrust into an unforeseen situation, returns to a past she thought forever lost to her.
Aidan Lawson, Texas cattle rancher and single father, faced with a renewed custody suit and a struggling ranch, is unsure about the future.
And then she arrives in a private jet, flaunting her mile-long legs, batting her honey eyes at him, and offering a solution to his problems.
But Aidan is a man who abhors lies and secrets.
And Cecelia is a woman shrouded in them."
“Loved this original romance. Its very well written with wonderful characters and amazing storyline. It’s a slow burn romance with unique twists that make it an “original” story. Aidan and Lily’s story is full of heartbreak, surprises, loss, secrets, love and second chances. I instantly loved these characters and loved every second of their story - the good, the bad, the ugly and the great. Murmur of Love is an emotional, sweet romance that you won’t want to miss. Highly Recommend! 💕” - K & R’s Dark Angels Book Blog
“Uprooted from the home they had shared with their parents in Boston, Valentino and Vincente Marconi’s first night with Cecelia in New York was fraught with emotion. Vinnie finally settled down with Macy, their small dog, a white and tan Havanese, curled at his feet. But Ti clung to her, not wanting to let her go. Pain was evident in his pinched features, and his gorgeous mocha eyes, speckled with glints of amber, brimmed with unshed tears.
His whispered, “Promise you’ll be here in the morning, Lily,” gutted her. Ten days ago, he had gone to sleep after his mommy and daddy kissed him goodnight before they left on their date, only to wake up an orphan.
Cecelia stayed with Ti curled up against her, stroking his dark hair, murmuring assurances she had no right to give, until he fell into an exhausted sleep. She carefully slipped from his bed and pulled the covers up to his shoulders, tucking him in with a goodnight kiss on his cheek.
She paused in the doorway, looking back at the sleeping boys.
In the past, she had shied away from forming too close a relationship with the boys. Her sporadic visits had consisted of a few fun outings, extravagant gifts, and attending the obligatory birthday parties when her schedule allowed. She loved the boys, but she had never wanted to be a constant in their lives. She had never wanted there to be expectations of something more.
She had done her duty — as a godmother — and they all had a lot of fun in the process, freeing her to go back to her flighty existence amongst the rich and famous. Cecelia sought — needed, craved — the superficial lifestyle where keeping things shallow meant she did not form attachments, because if she had no attachments, it would not hurt so bloody much when those she loved with all her heart were cruelly wrenched from her life.
Like Jules and Manny. Edmund. Her mum. Her earlier childhood.
And when she was not hopping around the globe, she spent her time involved with the Solace Foundation. If anything, Solace was her child. She had nurtured it from its inception, growing it with the help of dedicated staff, until it had become the flagship of organizations helping veterans. There was a safety there, a certain distance she could maintain, shielding herself from forming a close bond.
Yet fate had other things in store for her.
Bloody, bitchy, fickly fate.”
Nicole Ann Nielsen believes in romance, in love, and everyone deserves a happy ever after. 
And that is what she writes — Contemporary Romance. 
Working as a web developer and running her own company, one morning, having had enough of code, she opened a word document, and finally, finally, let the ideas bouncing around her head out.
In her own words: “The words flowed, the characters talked, the scenes developed, and a story formed. It was magical.”
Nicole lives in scenic Cape Town, South Africa, and shares her space with her husband, two dogs, and a lone cat, her son and daughter having long flown the parental coop.
She is an avid reader, enjoys Pilates, inhales coffee, and loves dreaming about her next novel.

Monday, November 25, 2019

26 Ways to Inspire Yourself

 
Write Now Literary is pleased to be organizing a book tour for 26 Ways to Inspire Yourself by Sonia Nwajei. The tour will run November 18- December 18, 2019. Book your own tour here
Genre: Self Help/Non-Fiction
ASIN: B07DZS4JQF
                      MEET SONIA
            
Sonia A Nwajei is the author of this wonderful book. She began her writing career only two years ago and had since published three non-fiction titles (including 26 Ways) to her credit. 
She is currently working to publish her first fiction, a murder mystery. Which she hopes will captivate lovers of fiction/detective novellas. 
Sonia lives in Brisbane, Australia.
       
             ABOUT THE BOOK
26 Ways To Inspire Yourself - is a powerful self-help book, written with the sole purpose to motivate readers with ideas that'll enable them make positive changes in their lives. The book is packed full of insightful and encouraging messages for those seeking to improve themselves, rebuild their lives and achieve set goals. It's your ultimate self-guide to a Better New You. Get it now.
EXCERPTS
Chapter 9-Letter I-Inspiration:
Inspiration leads us to a course of action that tends to showcase a different and more creative side of us that people may not have noticed before.
Chapter 10 -Letter J-Jealousy:
Jealousy is an unpleasant feeling of low self-esteem mixed with insatiable desire to acquire the same material possessions as some else.
Chapter 13-Letter M-Mother:
Every child feels safe and happy when their mother is around. Every child craves the affections and support of their mother. Even adults run to their mothers when they experience difficulties in life. 
Connect Socially
Purchase Links
Tour hosted by wnlbooktours.com  

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors: Never Trust a Pretty Wolf

Welcome to Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors, your chance to sample the work of a talented group of authors. When you finish here you can find more snippets at:

http://www.wewriwa.com   

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnippetSunday/

For the last few months I've been sharing excerpts from Turnaround Farm, but today I'm sharing from another book, Never Trust a Pretty Wolf. We'll begin with Chapter One. I'm posting the same thing I posted last Sunday because I forgot to sign up. So forgive me if you've already read this.

Blurb:
Liesel Wolf has a secret, a dangerous secret she’ll go to any lengths to conceal. When she’s paired in a charity game with sexy marshal Andy Bryce, a man with secrets of his own, her carefully constructed world comes crashing down, and Liesel’s on a collision course with her past.


Last week:
Excerpt

Saturday Sample: Never Trust a Pretty Wolf

Welcome to Saturday Sample. Today we'll continue to share excerpts from Never Trust a Pretty Wolf.

Blurb:
Liesel Wolf has a secret, a dangerous secret she’ll go to any lengths to conceal. When she’s paired in a charity game with sexy marshal Andy Bryce, a man with secrets of his own, her carefully constructed world comes crashing down, and Liesel’s on a collision course with her past.


Excerpt: 
Chapter One

Last Week
Thomas Melton and his wife Irene lived about ten miles outside of Shady Corners. A nice stone wall that showed an amazing level of craftsmanship surrounded the property. Twelve or so horses grazed on a lush, green pasture that bordered the road.
On the far side of the pasture, Andy saw the house. It was a three-story, brick Georgian that blazed with lights. He also saw several nicely dressed men and women at the front door.

When he stopped his car, a valet immediately appeared to park it. Andy wondered how many people Melton expected. He wouldn’t have thought they needed valet parking, but if you had the money, why not?

He made his way to the door and saw a tall, thin, cheerful looking man shaking hands with all the newcomers.

This week:

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Girl He Loves

Title: The Girl He Loves
Author: Roya Carmen
Genre: Psychological Suspense Romance
Release Date: November 21, 2019
Mischa Lombardi is odd. Pragmatic. Perfectionist. Neurotic. Diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at the age of eleven, she can’t remember being any other way. 
Thankfully, with the assistance of medication and therapy, her life is well under control. Some might even say it’s perfect: a beautiful husband, her sons Trevor and Tristan, a fabulous condo, work she enjoys and great friends. 
Yet she’s still extremely fragile. It’s the reason she always guards her emotions very carefully. And unfortunately, nothing can help her when, by chance, she discovers her husband’s secret — Ava, a beautiful young woman. She was so sure she knew her husband, but now she desperately needs to uncover the truth.
It’s no surprise when she becomes obsessed with Ava, with every trivial detail of her life; her friends, her beautiful mother, and most of all, her gentle and sweet father. Driven not only by curiosity and obsession, but also by jealousy and lust, she heads down a turbulent path as she sets out to uncover everything about her husband’s secret life and all the mysterious people in it.


“Gritty, angsty...all of the things I love about a Roya Carmen book” - Goodreads Review

“The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" holds true in this story.” - Goodreads Review
“Loved this story so much.” - The Smutbrarians

When I glance up from my phone, my heart skips a beat. I see her, walking down the pathway, next to a gangly young man. They’re both smiling widely. She’s as beautiful in real life — so young and sweet. 
I’m not sure what propels me to get to my feet and follow them down the sidewalk. My pulse races, my hands feel clammy, and I struggle for air. There are quite a few people walking around thankfully, so I don’t feel too conspicuous. 
There’s something quite exciting, quite delicious about being so close to her, so close I could reach out and touch her. So close, I can see the silkiness of her long hair, the intricate crochet stitching of her soft long-sleeved pink top, the frayed edges of her jean pockets, the roundness of her perfect little rear. I can even hear their conversation — they’re talking about one of their profs. Apparently, he’s so basic. 
I’m not sure what that means. Boring perhaps? 
The crowd has dispersed, and I now feel vulnerable. Do I keep going? Or do I just stop walking, and let them fade away. How far will I take it? She’s bound to notice me eventually. The boy tells her that she’s smart, that she should have more confidence in herself.
“Oh, Vince, you always say that,” she says, laughing.
“Because it’s true.”
At the moment, there’s no chance of her noticing me — she’s too immersed in her conversation. Bursts of laughter mixed with idle chit-chat. Joking around. She strikes me as a typical young woman. Does Vince know what she’s really like? Does he know about the older married high school teacher? Are they close enough for her to share all her secrets?
He asks her for her notes, and she suddenly jerks to a stop. He takes a few steps before he realizes that she’s bent down to reach into her backpack. He spots me as he turns, and shoots me a quizzical look, almost as if he knows what I’m up to. I stop breathing for a second, and I’m sure he sees the unmistakable panic and guilt in my eyes. He studies me for a beat, and I quickly scurry past the both of them, my heart pounding frantically. 
I practically run away, careful not to appear rushed. I’m breathless, and struggling to walk straight. I have no clue where I’m heading but as soon as I hit the next intersection, I veer right, and as soon as they’re out of sight, I breathe again. 
I make another right onto a quiet residential street, and I stop and lean against a light post. What have I achieved? Some might say I’ve achieved absolutely nothing. But for me, a compulsion was satisfied, an itch was scratched. I’ve seen her in the flesh, like I so desperately wanted to.
Roya Carmen is a busy mom, romance writer, designer, bookworm, chocoholic, and hopeless romantic. There’s nothing she enjoys more than making up stories about love, and sharing them with her readers.
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