Last night the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs started. My beloved Chicago Blackhawks weren’t in it. Sigh. I was cheering for them all the way through. Everyone said it would be Detroit and Pittsburgh, but I was hoping…
Why was I cheering for Chicago? I have “girl reasons”
1. There are a couple of players from Winnipeg on the team.
2. Winnipeg is known as the Chicago of the north.
3. Nikolai Khabibulin (He used to play for the Winnipeg Jets)
4. I just wrote a book about a hockey player who plays for a fictional Chicago team J
So now I’m cheering for Pittsburgh. My “girl reasons”:
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Sidney Crosby
3. Sidney Crosby
Okay I’m old enough to be his mother, but the kid is cute. Although that whole playoff thing of not shaving doesn’t work for him. And he’s mega talented.
Too bad they lost. But it was a great game, lots of action. The way Detroit used the boards and bounced the puck off them to score two goals from behind Marc-Andre Fleury was annoying but kinda cool. And the opening, with the giant octopus - gotta hand it to Detroit, they've taken that whole octupos thing which I never really got and made it their own!
And, on hockey playoff overload, the Manitoba Moose for the first time ever made it into the Calder Cup playoffs and their first game against the Hershey Bears (okay who picked that name?) was also last night. I wasn’t at the game, although a record setting crowd was. Unfortunately the Moose lost in what had to a be a white-knuckle heart-breaker - 5-4 in overtime. Aaaah!
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final is tonight (unusual, they usually have a day between) and I’ll be watching!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Last night the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs started. My beloved Chicago Blackhawks weren’t in it. Sigh. I was cheering for them all the way through. Everyone said it would be Detroit and Pittsburgh, but I was hoping…
Friday, May 29, 2009
Scrims and umbrellas were set up and lights popped as the photographer’s assistant studied a device in his hand. They arranged Tyler in the dining groom, leaning against a table, arms crossed over his chest.
People fussed around him, the assistant held the device up near his face and lights popped again.
She wasn’t sure why she was even needed here, but she hung around in the background anyway. As she stood there, Ryan came and joined her to watch.
“Crazy, huh?” he asked, smiling. He smoothed back his short hair, straightened his tie. “So...you and Tyler.”
She glanced at him, and couldn’t help but smile, her cheeks warming.
“That’s why you two weren’t getting along, isn’t it?”
She nodded. “Yeah. It’s a long story. I’m sorry if it caused problems in the restaurant, I never intended that. In fact, that’s what I was trying to avoid, that’s why I was pushing Tyler away. That, and the fact that I didn’t want to get my heart broken.” She sighed.
“You two are great together,” Ryan said. “Why would you get your heart broken?”
He’d told her he loved her. He’d made her feel so special and loved and safe that she’d confessed her feelings for him, too, even though she knew she shouldn’t. She knew this wasn’t going to last forever. But not telling him didn’t change anything, including the fact that her heart was at risk.
“Oh come on,” she said lightly. “You know what Tyler’s like. He’ll never settle down. When this ends between us, it’s going to be so awkward.”
Ryan looked at her, his face somber. She knew he couldn’t disagree with her. They all knew Tyler and his many girlfriends. She smiled at him.
“It’s okay,” she reassured him, though her chest felt tight and achy. “I’ll try to make sure the rest of you don’t suffer, too.”
“Chloe, it’s not just us...we all care about you, too. If you get hurt...”
“Thank you,” she said, touching his arm. “But I’ll just have to deal with it when it happens.”
There was a break in the action as the photographer, stylist and assistant gathered around the computer attached to the digital camera and started intently discussing the photos. Tyler beckoned to Chloe and she strolled over to him. He spread his legs, still leaning against the table, and pulled her between his thighs, linking his hands behind her waist. He smiled down at her.
“This is nuts,” he said. She smiled back at him and nodded. He bent and kissed her mouth.
“Hey, you two!” called the photographer. “How about some photos of both of you.”
Chloe turned in Tyler’s arms, thinking the photographer was joking, but he was behind the camera preparing to shoot.
“No way!” Chloe and Joe both uttered the same protest at the same moment. She glanced at Joe, striding purposefully toward them. She tried to escape Tyler’s arms, but he tightened his hands around her.
“Sorry, Chloe, no offence, but we’re trying to market an image here. You know, the sexy chef...we don’t want photos of him and current girlfriend in the magazine.”
“Why not?” Tyler growled.
Joe was firm. “We want women to lust for you. If you’re single they all think they have a chance...”
“Jesus, I’m a chef, not a rock star.”
Joe shook his head. “At this point there’s not much difference, Ty, buddy.”
Chloe nodded uncertainly, glanced at Tyler, a scowl darkening his face.
“That’s okay,” she said breathlessly, this time escaping Tyler’s grasp. “I don’t want to be in any photos.”
She tugged her blouse down and made her escape back to the periphery where she could watch.
Well. The sexy chef. He was that, no question. It made her feel a little extraneous. Once again she wondered what on earth Tyler was doing with her, and an icy wave of fear washed over her.
She followed the entourage when they moved into the kitchen, where Tyler donned his chef’s white jacket and posed. She could tell he was losing patience with all the fussing and finicky details, and wanted to get it over with. When they were finally finished, she started toward him where he was discussing where to have lunch and do the interview with the magazine editor.
“We can do it here,” Tyler said. “We can use Chloe’s office, there’s lots of room there.”
“Oh, let me take you out for lunch,” the editor said, smiling at him. She, too was a chic stick-girl all dressed in black, her short dark hair styled in a spiky, sexy cut.
Tyler shrugged. “Okay.”
When the editor went to collect her things, Joe said to Tyler, “Now remember, Ty buddy, when she asks about your love life, there’s nobody special, you’re still looking for the right woman, you love all women, yadda yadda.”
Tyler frowned at him. “She’s not going to ask about that.” He took Chloe’s hand and drew her nearer. “Coming with us?” he asked.
She glanced at Joe and shook her head. “Uh...no. I have lots of other stuff to do.”
“Sure?” He tipped her chin up and smiled at her, then brushed her lips with his again.
She felt so insecure and out of place today, but Tyler was treating he like he always did, and she tried to find comfort in that. She watched him leave with the magazine editor, then Joe took off back to LA and the photography team all lugged equipment out of the restaurant.
“Martha Melville is coming tonight.”
Chloe’s head jerked up at Lola’s words. “She is not!”
Martha Melville was a prominent food writer and critic. Her review of the restaurant could have huge implications.
Lola grinned. “Yup. She made a reservation under her publisher’s name. I recognized it and called the number they left to double check.”
“Does Tyler know?”
“Oh, yeah. He had a minor freak out just before everyone showed up.”
“Oh lord.” Chloe sighed.
“I gotta get back to work,” Lola said. “Just thought you should know.”
* * *
Lola quickly alerted everyone when Martha Melville arrived. The reviewer was trying to be incognito, but failed. However, nobody could let on that they knew who she was. Tyler called all the front of the house staff in to talk to them about the special guest at table twelve.
“Okay,” he said. “You all have to be on top of service. Allison, Mitch is taking over your other tables so you can focus on twelve.”
Her eyes widened. “One table?” she asked. She immediately grasped the importance of this guest.
“Service has to be impeccable,” he warned. They all nodded seriously. “Okay, go on.”
He went back to work and only his hands touched the meals that were prepared for that table. Martha was with three other people, but he knew that she would taste every dish that was ordered.
Sure enough, four different dinners were ordered, including appetizers. He grinned. He loved the rush he got from the pressure of having to perform. His hands moved quickly, surely as he prepared their meals, tasting everything to ensure perfection.
“Uh, Tyler?” Allison stood next to him.
“Yes?” He didn’t look up.
“Table nine just stopped me and said they’ve been waiting for their appetizers for almost an hour.”
Tyler’s head shot up. “What?” He looked around. “Who’s got table nine?” he bellowed.
“Mitch does,” Allison said.
“Get him the hell in here.”
She scurried off to find him.
“What is it?” Mitch asked seconds later, looking a little harried.
“Table nine has been waiting for appetizers for almost an hour,” Tyler informed him in a hard voice. “What the hell is going on?”
Mitch blanched “Appetizers?” There was no ticket for table nine on the slide. “Oh shit,” he groaned. “I forgot to put their order in.”
“Jesus Christ,” Tyler growled. “Get their fucking order in now!”
He had never stopped working on the plates for table twelve. He scowled as he worked.
Mitch hurriedly entered the orders into the computer, luckily appearing to remember what they’d ordered. None of the servers at Insatiable ever wrote anything down. That was Tyler’s policy.
“What did they order?” Carlos asked, taking over. He quickly went to work.
“Give them free drinks,” Tyler ordered. “And comp the appetizers. Apologize to them. I can come out later if you think I need to, but not right now.”
Fury boiled up inside him that other customers had to suffer because of one damn food critic.
Later, when Martha and her crew were gone, he found Mitch.
“Sorry I snapped at you,” he apologized, rubbing the ache at the back of his neck. “I know that was too much for one person to handle all those tables.”
“Thanks,” Mitch said. “It’s okay. They were happy enough they didn’t get charged for the food and the free drinks helped too. I sucked up big time.”
Mitch, like all the other wait staff at Insatiable, was hired in large measure for his personality. The servers had to have good people skills, the ability to read the mood of a table, know when to hurry things up or slow things down. Tyler was sure Mitch had used all of his considerable charm to mollify the guests at table nine.
“Good work,” he said, clapping Mitch’s shoulder. “Thanks.”
Mitch looked relieved, probably afraid he was going to get reamed out for the mistake. And Tyler had to admit, there might have been a time when he would have done that, his volatile temper difficult to control. Tonight yeah, he’d been pissed off, but somehow things didn’t get to him like they used to. He grinned as he turned back to the kitchen.
Holy crap. He was really in love.
Insatiable Part 22
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I also read Forbidden Fruit by Eden Bradley. This is the first of her books I’ve read and I really wanted to love this book by fellow Romance Diva. I can’t say I loved it, although it was competently written. I can’t really put my finger on why I didn’t love it. Other than the fact that he’s a student and she’s a professor, which is easily resolved, the conflict is all inner conflict for both Jagger and Mia, which gets a little repetitious. Also it may be because the food/sex scenes don’t push my buttons as much as some other fetishes might. I did kinda like Jagger’s water fetish…
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I love choosing flowers and designing my container gardens. I mostly plant the same things every year but I'm always looking for something new and different. This year I found a bright yellow Dascia - gorgeous! I love oranges and yellows. And a beautiful Million Bells that's bright yellow with a red/orange center. I'll take pictures when everything's all planted.
I decided to dig a new flower bed along the long side of the yard, against the fence. Then I wrestled with giant hostas and lilies to divide them and move them to the new bed. That was hard work. So far it looks like they all survived. I also dug up and moved some Lamiastrum (spotted deadnettle) to the new bed. And I dug out a whole lot of dandelions from the lawn.
When I was done, I got out all the cushions and put them on the furniture on the deck, turned on the outdoor speaker for some music, poured myself a glass of wine and just sat there in the sun. My hands are blistered, my muscles hurt, my skin is sunburned...but I love it!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Tyler stared at Chloe as she unbuttoned her shirt. Standing, she undid the button and zipper of her Capri pants and stepped out of them. Then she climbed onto his lap, straddled him as she had that afternoon, her blouse hanging open over her bra and black lace boy short panties.
His eyes were so hot she was surprised she didn’t combust on the spot under his heated gaze, scorching her as he lowered his gaze to the opening of her shirt and his hands parted the two sides. Today her black demi-bra was so low-cut her nipples almost showed. He sucked in his breath.
“Holy shit,” he muttered. “Chloe, your underwear is killing me.”
Her heart expanded and warmed. His hands slid up her legs and under the lace edge of the panties to cup her cheeks. The touch of hands on her bare thighs and bottom sent flames licking over her body, need twisting inside her. She leaned forward to kiss him with everything she had, remembering that last time and how badly she’d wanted to feel his hands on her. And now...God, it was hard to believe she was here, doing this, and it was real.
They kissed like that for a long time, slow, open-mouthed, wet kisses, his hands on her butt, her hands on his face, holding him. She lowered herself fully onto his lap and scooted forward until his erection pressed right against her pussy, and it felt so good she gasped.
He lifted his hips to press his hardness against her and she broke the kiss.
Then his hands pushed her blouse off her shoulders and down. It fell somewhere, she didn’t care where. She sat up straight, her head falling back, her long hair brushing his knees. His hands cupped her breasts, slid under the top edge of the demi-cup to touch her nipples. He lifted one breast out of the low-cut cup and leaned forward to touch his lips to her nipple. Sensation shot through her and swelled between her legs. He kissed her softly, then tucked her breast back into the bra cup and moved to the other one.
“Take my bra off,” she whispered. He shook his head, surprising her.
“I love this bra. Leave it on. Just for a while.”
A soft moan escaped her and she canted her hips against his erection. He brought her head down to his again to kiss him.
Then she slid to the floor in front of him, her fingers on the button of his jeans. He groaned again, hands fisted in her hair, as she opened his zipper carefully and drew out his erection, rigid and engorged, heavy veins pulsing. So beautiful. She gathered her hair behind her, leaned to the side, took that long ponytail and wrapped it around his cock.
His hips jerked off the couch. “Shit, Chloe!” She tightened the hair around him and slid the ring of hair slowly up his shaft and off. And again. She sat back a little to look at him, loved the expression of agony and ecstasy on his dark face, his eyes closed, cheeks flushed.
She loved the feeling of power she had, the power to arouse him so fiercely. At this moment, even though she suspected otherwise, she could believe that she was the only one who could affect him so deeply. Then she shook her hair back and leaned forward to kiss his cock. Again his body shook.
“Oh, fuck, yeah,” he muttered. Encouraged, she kissed the tip of him again, opened her mouth over him and sucked the head into her mouth. She licked over the head, finding a drop of moisture there that she tasted and liked. His fingers drove into her hair again and he held her head tightly.
Hungry for more of him, she licked him all over, up and down the shaft, took him in her hand to hold him as she did so. When he was wet all over, she closed her hand around the base and pulled, as she had done in the shower. Now she knew he liked it hard, she gripped him firmly. Then she took him in her mouth, as deep as she could. He was so big, and when he hit the back of her throat her eyes watered, so she eased off at bit, still sucking. Then she lifted her head from him and looked up.
“You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to,” he said, his voice ragged. He squeezed his eyes closed, the corners of his mouth turned down.
“No, no! I want to, I’m going to...I just can’t...take you very deep.”
“That’s okay, baby. You don’t have to deep throat me. Just put your mouth on me like you were doing. That felt so fucking awesome.”
His hands guided her head back to him and she took him in again, loving the feel and the taste of him. She swirled her tongue around him, over the head, took him as deep as she could, squeezed his shaft with her hand. With her other hand she cupped his balls, eliciting another growl from him. Her fingers went lower, around behind his scrotum, pressed the firm skin there and he thrust deeper into her mouth.
“God, yeah,” he groaned. “Oh, Chloe.”
She sucked and moved her hand harder and he lifted into her mouth faster.
“I’m going to come. Chloe, if you want to pull back, do it now...”
But she didn’t. She let him thrust into her mouth, his hands hard on her skull as he held here there and then she tasted the salty sharp taste of his hot semen as he spurted into her.
“Yeah, fuck yeah.”
Liquid trickled out of her mouth and her hand became wet and slippery, and he shuddered beneath her touch.
She sucked gently, licked the head of his penis, which made him jolt. He must be sensitive after that. She lifted her head and wiped her mouth. She stayed there, between his knees for a moment, gulping air into her lungs.
He laid there, head flung back, eyes closed. His hands still rested on her head and chest heaved as he, too, struggled for breath.
“Holy shit,” he finally whispered. “Holy shit.”
“Was that okay?” She nibbled her bottom lip.
“Okay? Uh...no, that wasn’t okay...that was unfuckingbelievable.” He grabbed her and dragged her up so she lay on top of him.
“I loved doing that,” she whispered to him, gazing into his eyes, amazed at how much she had loved it. “You taste so good, Tyler.”
“I’ll take your word for that one,” he replied, a smile touching the corners of his mouth. “You are incredible, Chloe. So hot.”
She smiled and laid her head on his chest.
Then he said, “Now the bedroom. And my turn to eat.”
He pulled her down the hall after him.
* * *
He left her bra and panties on because they were so damn sexy. That bra! It pushed her breasts up so high they were practically falling out. And those panties! So short half her cheeks were revealed, and the loose lace around the bottom gave him easy access. His fingers happily slid there to feel her. She was wet, so wet, and that turned him on all over again.
He was so wrung out from that stupendous blow job he hoped he had the energy to go down on her and give her at least one orgasm. Then he remembered the taste of her, and voracious hunger and adrenaline kicked in.
He lowered her to his bed in the dark. He left the door ajar so light from the living room gave just enough illumination to see her beautiful face and sexy body.
Still dressed, he yanked the t-shirt over his head, and shucked off his jeans. Then he climbed up beside her and lay down, bending one arm and resting his head on his hand. With his other hand he stroked up her stomach and between her breasts, across her chest and shoulders, down one soft, slim arm. Then he did the same with her legs, reaching as low as he could go, trailing his fingers up the inside of one thigh. Her legs shifted, parted for him.
“That’s it, sweetheart, open your legs for me.” He watched her face, eyes closed, lips parted, and he felt a jolt as a vision of her mouth on his cock flashed into his mind. His own eyes closed, then opened again to watch her. He continued to pet her, everywhere, and her legs opened wider in invitation. She moved on the bed, her hips lifting.
“Touch me, Tyler,” she whispered.
“Oh, yeah. Tell me what you want, Chloe. I’ll do whatever you want.”
She moaned. “I want you to touch me.”
“Touch you where?”
“Oh God. Don’t make me...”
“Yes, Chloe, you have to tell me...”
Taking a breath, she whispered, “Touch me between my legs.”
“Your pussy?” he asked, and she moaned again, low and ragged.
“Yes,” she hissed. “There.” Then, bravely, “Touch my clit.”
Her words almost undid him and he shuddered. “Yeah.” He moved his fingers where she’d asked him, slipped through the slick folds, parted her labia, stroked her wetness all over and rubbed. Then he found her clit and circled it, then rubbed over it.
“Is that the spot, sweetheart?”
“Yessssss.” He stroked a little harder, firmer over her inner lips, found the entrance to her and pushed a finger in. And out. In and out. His thumb brushed over her clit and her legs fell open wider and her hips lifted against his hand in a jerky rhythm. He knew she was going to come. He withdrew his hand.
“Noooo,” she groaned, hips lifting against nothing. Her head tossed on the pillow. “Tyler...please.”
“I want to taste you again, Chloe. Do you want that?”
“Yes, yes, I want you to lick me.”
“Oh, me too, baby, me too.” He slid down her body, kissing her belly, dipping his tongue in her navel, then pressing his mouth to each hip bone in a soft wet love bite. Then he proceeded to feast on her sweetness, making her come over and over.
When she was limp and sated, he pulled her over him, tucked her head under his chin and covered them up with soft blankets.
“Now tell me about your mother,” he said.
She sighed and snuggled in closer. “You want to talk? Now?”
He kissed her hair. “Sure.” He was hoping that after what they’d just shared she’d open up a bit more. How much more intimate could they get?
She gave another pretty sigh. “Well, you know about my mom. Our dad left her when my sister and I were little. I don’t think he could handle the stuff that went on with her moods. Up, down, all over the place, that was my mom. He did try to keep in touch but she made it difficult, and over the years we just grew apart. He got married again, had more kids, had a new family.”
“That’s hard.” He stroked her hair and she nodded.
“I missed my dad because he was so nice and normal,” she said. “And I really hated him for leaving us with her. Sometimes I wished he’d taken us with him. And sometimes...and I’m so ashamed of this...I even said that to my mom.” She shifted against him. “I know that hurt her. I was such a selfish kid.”
“That’s not selfish, Chloe. You were a kid.”
“All kids are selfish to a certain extent,” she said. “But I did care about Carly and I cared about my mom, too, so I couldn’t just leave her. I thought about running away and trying to convince my dad to let me live with him, but then I guess pride stopped me because he obviously didn’t want us. And I was afraid for my mom if I left.”
“You looked after her.”
She nodded again. “Yeah. I looked after her. When she was up, it could be fun. Sometimes she was very charming when she was manic. But it was scary, too. She wouldn’t eat, or sleep. Then she’d go on a rampage, not go to work, say mean things to us. She’d go nuts cleaning the house.” She paused. “I didn’t have a lot of friends at school, because I was afraid for them to meet my mom. I was embarrassed by her.”
“It’s hard when you’re a teenager, trying to fit in.”
She nodded against his chest. “She’d lose a job, find another one for a while but it never lasted. A couple of times she ended up in the hospital. So I had to start finding part-time jobs to help support us.” He stroked her hair, the smooth curve of her back. “And when she was down it was horrible. Her depression just sucked the life out of everything. I felt so helpless, but when I tried to get Mom to go for help, she’d just yell at me, tell me I was a bad kid and I should just get out of her life.”
“Oh, Chloe.” His chest ached and he wrapped his arms around her tighter. Tyler pressed her head to his chest. “I told you before, I know you did the best you could. It sounds like you busted your ass trying to look after everyone else.”
She tipped her head back to look up at him. “I tried. When Mom was in the hospital, I didn’t have much choice. Carly was so little, she didn’t understand what was going on.” She pressed her lips to his chest. “I’ve never told anyone stuff like this.”
He felt like an ice cube had lodged in his throat, didn’t trust himself to speak, so he just wrapped his arms around her. Then the words he’d never said to any woman fell out of his mouth. “I love you, Chloe.”
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I also read Cry for Passion by Robin Schone. This book is very intelligent and certainly makes you think about the history of women’s rights. However in terms of the romance, I felt distanced – Jack is a very tragic and wounded man, and normally I love a wounded hero, but his grief over the woman he loved and lost seems to overshadow the feelings developing for Rose. It made it hard to believe that their relationship actually could grow into something deeper than a sexual one. Robin Schone has a unique voice and writing style and does tell an interesting and thought-provoking story with accurate historical perspetive.
I’ve just started Kisses like a Devil by Diane Whiteside.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
And today I made my first book trailer for my upcoming Amber Quill Press release June 7 - WORTH WAITING FOR.
I've tried a couple of times to make trailers and the hardest part is the music - I
can never find exactly what I want. But this song - Jules by Mark Cally- is perfect. I love it.
And I have to thank my husband for the two photographs of Santa Barbara, California.
Check it out
Friday, May 15, 2009
“Just got a call from Oprah’s people,” he said, excitement edging his voice. “Apparently she had dinner there a few weeks ago?”
“Yes, she apparently did,” Chloe said with a laugh.
“Well, she wants to have Tyler on her show. They’re thinking of coming to the restaurant, doing a bit with him cooking, customers in the restaurant, yadda yadda, then she’ll have him on the show and interview him.”
“Wow. That’s awesome.”
“No shit,” he said. “Is Tyler there?”
She glanced at her watch. “He’s probably on his way. Did you try his cell?”
“Nah. Have him call me when he gets in. Maybe do a conference call so I can talk to both of you at the same time and we’ll get this set up.”
“Hold on. He just walked in.”
Tyler lifted one eyebrow as he entered her office and heard her. She smiled and said, “Joe.” She put the phone on speaker.
Tyler listened as Joe talked, a slow smile spreading across his face. They talked about dates and when they were wrapping up, Joe said, “I just want to make sure you really want to do this, Ty buddy.”
Tyler frowned. “Why are you asking that? Who wouldn’t want to be on Oprah?”
“Just a word of caution. Once you’ve been on Oprah and people see that show, your business is going to literally explode. You think you’re busy now, just wait. I want to make sure you’re prepared for that.”
Tyler nodded, eyebrows pinched together. He rubbed the back of his neck.
“You don’t have to do it, Tyler,” Chloe said softly.
“Yeah, I know.” He met her eyes. “What do you think, Chloe?”
She sighed and shook her head. “Tyler...you have to decide. Obviously there are pros and cons...do you want to think about it before you decide for sure?”
“No.” He gave a short nod. “That’s okay. Yeah, I’ll do it. It’ll be a blast.”
“Great! I’ll see you Thursday for the magazine shoot,” Joe said as they hung up.
“Holy shit,” Tyler said, pressing his fingers between his eyes.
“I know.” She stood and walked around behind his chair to rub his tight shoulders. The big muscles were like boulders. “You’re a star, Tyler.”
It wasn’t a surprise to her that all this was happening. She’d seen this coming long ago, once the attention had started. He was a star. His personality drew people like a magnet. He charmed them, cast them under his spell and then he fed them with his fabulous food and they were all his, devoted adoring fans.
“That feels so good,” he groaned, rolling his head around.
She massaged his shoulders for a few moments longer, digging her fingers into tense muscles, then he spun the chair around and grabbed her, pulled her onto his lap. He buried his face against her neck. “Thank you.”
“For what? The massage?”
He shook his head against her. “For being here. For being you. I couldn’t do this without you, Chloe.”
She smiled and stroked his silky hair. “Sure you could.”
He shook his head again. “No. I always knew it. You’re so important to me.”
Her heart felt like it was going to explode out of her chest. While Tyler’s success was no surprise, it was still unbelievable that he wanted her...her! Chloe Graham, a total nobody.
“Thank you,” she whispered to him, her breath catching. She wanted to tell him how important he was to her, too, but couldn’t bring herself to say the words...not yet, anyway. Although hope flickered inside her at his words, she still couldn’t shake the feeling that this was too good to be true.
“What do you want to do tonight?” he asked her a moment later. “I feel bad. I work so late every night. We can’t do things like normal people.”
She drew back, her arms still looped around his neck and smiled. “You’re not a normal person, Tyler.”
“You’re saying I’m abnormal?” He lifted a brow.
She laughed. “How about extraordinary?”
“Yeah, I like that better. Come to my place tonight. I’ll make you dinner.”
“Really? Do you want to cook on your day off?”
“I want to cook for you.” He kissed her mouth. “You can help me.”
They spent some time on business, planning, making decisions, then Tyler worked in his own office for the afternoon. Around five o’clock he came back to get her.
“Leave your car here,” he said. “I’ll take you home in the morning and drive you to work.”
Chloe loved Tyler’s house. Perched on a mountain above the city, it looked over the city and the ocean. In his living room, she wandered over to the wall of windows and gazed out. The city fell away beneath her, green trees and red tile roofs, down to meet the ocean where it rolled in. Deep blue water stretched out, faded to a hazy blue at the horizon where it met the sky of the same color.
She turned around and her eyes fell on the black leather couch. She couldn’t help but remember the last time she was there when she’d seduced Tyler. When all this had started.
“Tell me the truth, Chloe,” Tyler said from his open kitchen. “That day you came on to me, here...you really did want me, didn’t you?”
Apparently he was remembering, too.
She wandered over to the gleaming dark granite counter that separated the kitchen from the living room. He handed her a glass of wine.
“Not at first,” she said. “I actually thought I could do that without getting...involved.”
He raised a brow at her. “But after...?”
She laughed and shook her head. “Your ego is big enough, Tyler. Do you really need me to tell you how turned on I got and how much I wanted to keep going?”
He grinned. “Yeah, I do.”
He opened the stainless steel refrigerator and started pulling things out.
“What are you making me?” she asked.
“Huh!” She blinked. “Tacos.”
“Yup.” He pulled a pan from the rack that hung over one end of the island and set it on the stove.
“Special, fancy gourmet tacos?”
“Nope. Just tacos.”
They cooked, laughed, and yeah, kissed, and then they ate tacos, dripping hot sauce and guacamole, dropping pieces of lettuce and tomato. Tyler reached out and with one fingertip swiped a drop of sauce from beside her mouth.
She watched in amazement as he devoured six tacos, then she lost count. “Where do you put it all?”
“Good metabolism,” he said with a grin. “This is the kind of food I grew up eating. My parents own a tacqueria in Carpentaria.” She nodded, recalling that. “My sister and my brothers all work there now. It’s a great little place. You can’t get better Mexican food.”
“Why didn’t you stay there too?”
“I needed more,” he said simply. “I love food...I wanted to know more, though. I wanted to know about French food, Italian food, Japanese food...all of it. I wanted to try new things. I mean, create new things, not just eat them. It was like something inside me that had to get out, the creativity I guess.”
She helped him clean up and as they finished, he said, “Next week come with me to meet my family.” Her hands paused as she hung a dish towel. Holy crap. “On Monday I’ll take you there and we can have dinner...better tacos than mine even.”
“That’s hard to believe,” she murmured. He settled his hands on her waist and pulled her against him.
“I know,” he said with a complete lack of modesty, grinning. “But it’s true. My mom makes the best in the world.”
They sat on his couch, the scene of her outrageous seduction, and he talked about his family, then told her stories about the places he’d worked and the crazy people he’d worked with - the chef who’d screamed abuse at the kitchen staff and actually threw knives at them, the cook that came to work drunk and stoned every night, the time Tyler’d caught the hostess giving the chef a blow job in the walk-in, the restaurant in New York which he was sure was a money-laundering operation for the owner who was one day arrested for trafficking.
“I wanted my kitchen to be different,” he said. “I know everyone throws language around and drops the f-bomb all over the place, but I won’t put up with abuse.”
She nodded, lifted her hand to his lean cheek, rough with stubble, and kissed him, a deep, full-bodied kiss. His arms tightened around her, one hand spearing into her hair to hold her head. His tongue filled her mouth and a little groan escaped her. She slid her hands up his chest to his shoulders and burrowed closer in to his body. His erection pressed against her leg and she wanted to touch him, so without conscious thought her hand slipped down to his lap and stroked his hard length through his jeans. Now he groaned, covered her hand with his and pressed her against his arousal.
She stroked him more and kept kissing him, their kisses growing hungrier and hotter, their mouths eating at each other until he broke the kiss and they stared at each other, panting.
“Do you want to keep making out here on the couch? Or go into the bedroom?” he rasped.
She smiled slowly at him. “I want to finish what I started that afternoon.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Ellen asks if there are always shades of grey when it comes to matters of the heart, and I say – YES! There is no black and white, right or wrong, good or bad when it comes to love. There are always nuances and layers and shades. That’s why I love writing about love.
Another reason this book spoke to me is because I’ve lived a part of that story. I’ve had that intense relationship and then found a quieter, peaceful love. I’ve had the questions about passion, about highs and lows or easy contentment, questions about “settling”. I’ve wondered about the fork in the road. Like Ellen, I’ve wondered what life would be like if the path had been different, and also like Ellen, I felt I didn’t have the choice at the time. Unlike Ellen, I’ve never been tested to actually have to make that choice, although I’ve dreamed it and imagined it and…I’ve written about it.
This story is so similar in themes to my next release, Worth Waiting For, which is another reason it resonated with me so deeply. Have you ever wondered what would happen if the one you loved passionately, the “one who got away” returned to you? How you would feel? How you would react? If you had the chance to make a choice – what would you choose?
Ainslie in my book has a chance to make that choice and hers turns out differently than Ellen’s in Emily Giffin’s book, although the situation is a little different as well.
Here are a few lines from love the one you’re with:
“But maybe that’s what is all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all.” And -
“Love is the sum of our choices, the strength of our commitments, the ties that bind us together.”
What do you think - is love a surge of passion or choice we make?
Friday, May 8, 2009
“Have fun last night?” he asked Tyler with a grin. He held the newspaper in front of Tyler.
Tyler looked up from the lamb loins he was butchering and frowned slightly. Ryan showed him a page of photos from the fundraiser last night. There in the middle of the page, was him holding Chloe bent backward over his arm, their faces close, their eyes locked together in an intimate moment.
His hands stilled for a moment, then he grinned. “Yeah,” he said, looked closer. The caption read, ‘Chef Tyler Gregg and Chloe Graham enjoying a special moment’.
“You and Chloe?” Ryan asked, brows raised.
“Yeah.” He returned to his lamb, a faint smile on his face.
“You and Chloe?” Carlos repeated with interest.
“Check it out.” Ryan walked over to his station and showed him the photo. Carlos grinned too.
“You dog,” he said to Tyler. “How long has this been going on?”
Tyler shrugged. “Not long.”
Everyone else in the kitchen apparently needed to see the photo and make suggestive comments until Tyler finally said, in a mild tone, “Okay, back to work everyone.”
“Has Chloe seen this?” Ryan asked.
Tyler shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ll show her later. Leave the paper in my office.”
“Hey, who the fuck’s been messing in my shit?” Alejandro barked. “Where’s my knife?” He swung around and his eyes searched the kitchen. “Jason, you motherfucker, where the hell’s my knife?”
Tyler’s head came up but he said nothing, glanced sideways at Alejandro and Jason.
“I didn’t touch your fucking knife,” Jason said. “Or your mise...so, fuck off, asshole.”
“Oh, here it is,” Alejandro said, and went back to his station. Tyler grinned and continued butchering. Yup, that was life in the kitchen.
Once he was finished the tasting for the floor staff for that day’s specials, he went leaping up the stairs, newspaper in hand, to find Chloe.
“We made the paper,” he said as he entered her office.
She turned to him, smiling. God she was beautiful. He’d tucked her back into bed that morning when he’d left so she could get more sleep. He, on the other hand, couldn’t have felt more energetic and alive.
Her eyes moved over the page and widened when she saw the photo of them.
“Oh,” she said faintly. “How about that.”
He laughed. “We look damn good, don’t you think?”
She took a deep breath. “This is what it’s like for you, all the time, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” He dropped the paper onto a table behind him. “You’re okay with that, aren’t you, sweetheart?” He crouched beside her chair and smoothed her hair away from her face.
She smiled at him. “Sure. It’s just weird for me. But it’s okay.”
He kissed her softly. “Gotta go. Come see me when you’re leaving, okay?” She nodded and he jumped back down the stairs to the kitchen.
It was a busy night at Insatiable but Tyler felt like he could go forever on adrenaline. He was so pumped from how fucking fantastic last night with Chloe had been. Then Allison, one of the wait staff, came into the kitchen and let out a scream of frustration.
“What the hell, Allison,” Carlos said.
“That bitch at table nine is driving me insane!” she cried. “She had questions about everything on the menu - everything, I tell you - now she’s complaining that the music is too loud, the lighting is too dim, she can’t see her food...and when I went to put her plate down in front of her, she tried to grab it from me and I almost dumped it in her lap.”
Tyler grimaced. Difficult customers were never fun to deal with. “You want me to talk to her?”
“Would you?” Allison wiped the edge of two plates ready for table ten. “Maybe that will settle her down.”
“I’ll go out in a minute,” Tyler said, focused on firing two entrees.
Shortly, he wiped his hands on a towel and walked out into the dining room. He wandered leisurely through the tables, greeting people he recognized, responding to others he didn’t know who recognized him, accepting compliments on the food.
When he reached table nine he stopped. “Good evening,” he said, flashing a smile at the young couple. “How was dinner tonight?”
The woman looked at him, open-mouthed. “Are you the chef?”
He nodded and held out a hand. “Tyler Gregg. Pleased to meet you.”
“Wow,” she said. “Uh...I’m Carrie and this is my fiancé, Trent.” They shook hands. “Dinner was great.” She stared at Tyler with fascination. “Absolutely fantastic.”
“Glad to hear it,” Tyler said. “Is this a special occasion for you two?”
She nodded, smiled and blushed faintly. “We just got engaged, actually,” she said, glancing at Trent, who nodded.
“Congratulations!” Tyler said. “Allow me to treat you both to a glass of champagne.”
“That’s so nice of you...thank you!”
Tyler went over to the bar and had a word with Emilio, then returned to the kitchen. He told Allison what had happened.
“Oh, you probably don’t believe me now,” she said in a huff. “She was a bitch to me, Tyler.”
“I believe you,” he said mildly. It wasn’t the first time that had happened...guests gave the wait staff a hard time but as soon as he, the chef, the big guy, appeared they were all sucky and flattering. Especially women. “They’re getting a free glass of champagne to celebrate their engagement.”
“You’re rewarding her for bad behavior!” Then she laughed. “I feel sorry for the guy, engaged to her.”
“Take them their champagne,” Tyler said. “Maybe you’ll get a nice tip out of it.”
Allison grinned at him. “Thanks, Chef.”
He went back to work, tossing food in sauté pans, flaming brandy over shrimp in a burst of heat, grilling scallops.
Then Chloe came in. “I’m going home now,” she said to Tyler.
“God, Chloe, are you still here!” he exclaimed with annoyance. “It’s eight o’clock!”
She nodded. “Uh...yeah.”
He quickly wiped his hands and led her out of the kitchen and down the hall. “You work too damn much!” he growled at her. “You should be at home, having a nice long bath and doing your nails or something.”
She smiled at him and touched his face gently. “I’m fine, Tyler.”
He studied her for a moment, then bent his head and kissed her. He was still kissing her when Emilio came around the corner.
“Oops,” he said, coming to a halt, eyes wide. “I was just going back for another bottle of Chivas. Sorry.”
He grinned at them and Chloe flushed. Tyler touched her cheek and smiled.
“Everyone knows now, sweetheart.”
Insatiable Part 19
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
What happens when you’re favorite go-to authors disappoint you?
Lately I’ve read a few books by my favs that just haven’t excited me and I’m not sure why. In fact at the bookstore, I picked up the latest release by one of my LONG time favorite authors and started randomly reading. I could tell right away that the male character was exactly like every other male character in her other books, and the conflict between the two of them was the same as every other story. So I didn’t even buy it.
Some authors switch genres, like Lori Foster writing as LL Foster. Except I have to say, I read the first Servant story but it was so dark and didn’t have enough sexing and loving for me, so I haven’t read the next one. In Lori’s most recent romance, she experimented with time travel. That was new and different.
What can authors do to keep things fresh and interesting for their readers?
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
In the dry goods room, he rummaged around for the peppercorns.
“Carlos!” he yelled. “Don’t we have any peppercorns?”
Ryan appeared. “I just did inventory, I’m sure we do.” He peered into the shelves. “Calm down, Tyler.”
Tyler looked at him, puzzled. “I am calm.”
Ryan’s head jerked around. “Uh...yeah. You are. Sorry.” He found the peppercorns and handed them to Tyler. Tyler smiled.
“Thanks, man,” he said. “The ones I have are old and taste like shit.”
He replaced the peppercorns in his grinder. “Anyone else need fresh?” He held up the container. “For God’s sake, don’t use old peppercorns. Please.”
His staff exchanged glances.
“You get laid last night?” Carlos asked him with a grin. He traded a look with Ryan.
Tyler started. “My business,” he said with a one-shouldered shrug. Although he had no intention of hiding his relationship with Chloe, he didn’t want it to start by announcing they’d slept together. They’d go out this weekend, out in the open, and then everyone would know. Yeah.
He continued working on his new creation and slid the pork tenderloins into the oven to roast. Now for the sauce. He went to the bar for inspiration. He wanted a cream sauce...but it needed a kick, a boozy kick. He studied the multitude of bottles lining the mirrored wall behind the bar. Brandy...cognac. Nah. Too...predictable. He grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels and carried it back to the kitchen.
He chopped shallots and tossed them into a sauté pan with butter. They sizzled as he minced garlic, found demi-glace and heavy cream. When the shallots were nicely softened he added the garlic, then poured the Jack Daniels in. Flames shot up, attracting the attention of the others.
“What are you making over there, Chef?” Alejandro called.
“Trying something new,” Tyler muttered, focused on his creation. He added the demi-glace and the cream and left it to reduce. Then he started on something else.
A while later he cut a piece of pork and popped it into his mouth. He closed his eyes, chewed, savored, swallowed. It was good...but not fantastic. It was the rub. He needed to adjust the proportions and add something...thyme. Yeah, thyme. That was it.
By the end of the afternoon he had a new special that blew his mind.
“Chloe!” He pounded up the stairs.
“What do you want me to taste?”
“How did you know?” “I just know.” She smiled. “Should I come down?”
“Yeah. Please.” She followed him downstairs to the kitchen where he cut a piece of perfectly cooked pork, then lifted the fork to her mouth.
She tasted it, swallowed. “Oh, that’s good,” she said. “It’s fabulous! I love it!”
He gazed at her. She always gave him her honest opinion, but today she was so...hot. A night of sizzling sex had loosened her up. He might have a new Chloe on his hands.
She tipped her head to one side. “What?”
He smiled slowly at her. “You are so sexy.”
She blushed and he was aware of the kitchen staff watching.
“Carlos, come try this!” he invited, and Carlos and the others surrounded them for a taste. Everyone expressed complete approval of his new creation and his chest swelled with pride.
“I’ll make it one of tomorrow’s specials,” he told them. “Carlos, what do you think we should serve it with?”
Carlos considered. “Let me taste it again.” He tasted and thought. “Potatoes,” he said. “Something simple.”
“Potatoes!” Tyler said. “No way. I think pasta.”
They argued for a while and then Tyler got his way as usual.
The next day when Tyler did the tasting for the floor staff of the day’s specials, including his new pork tenderloin creation, everyone was unanimous that it was fantastic. But when Tyler tasted it with the pasta he knew it was a mistake.
“Carlos, you were right,” he said, going into the kitchen. “Potatoes, man.”
Carlos grinned. “Thanks, Chef.”
As Tyler walked out to go reprint the specials with the change, he heard Carlos say, “That’s why I like working here.”
* * *
Chloe had RSVP’d to the invitation to the Sea Center fundraiser, never in her wildest dreams imagining “Tyler Gregg and guest” would be her.
She’d gone shopping for a new dress. The strapless fitted bodice was intricate layers of sheer fabric, a sandy-pink color, flowing into a slim but soft skirt that floated around her ankles. She turned on her new snakeskin stilettos in front of the mirror, one way then the other, and bit her lip. Did she look okay for her first public appearance with Tyler?
Her doorbell rang and then the front door opened. Tyler. She hurried out of her bedroom and down the hall, heels tapping on the hardwood floor.
Of course, he was stunningly gorgeous in his tux.
“Oh,” she breathed, eyes moving over him.
He grinned and stuck a finger inside his collar. “I hate wearing this thing, but women do seem to like it.”
Her excitement dimmed, just a tad, at the reminder of how many women Tyler had worn this tuxedo for.
His eyes moved over her in turn, and the way they heated up erased all those other women from her mind.
“You look incredible, Chloe,” he murmured, stepping into her house. “I want to kiss you, but I don’t want to mess you up.”
Did she care about getting messed up? Not in the least. So she set her hands on his chest. Even in her heels she had to go onto her toes to reach his mouth. His hands held her waist lightly, then tightened as she kissed him again, and again.
He moved her away from him. “We won’t make it there if you don’t stop,” he warned, eyes glittering, a smile tugging the corners of his mouth.
“No, you’re not.” He grinned.
She arched a brow at him and went to find her purse and wrap.
The fundraiser was being held at Fess Parker’s resort in the outdoor rotunda. Arched windows provided views of swaying palm trees and the ocean across the street, and soft evening breezes wafted through the space. Tiny white lights twinkled in potted palms, and flowers scented the air.
Waiters mingled with guests, offering trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres. Chloe sipped a flute of champagne as she stayed by Tyler’s side. He knew so many people there and chatted and flirted his way around the room. He introduced her to everyone, at times holding her hand, circling his arm around her waist, leaning in to whisper in her ear. This was the kind of party she and Michael had so often attended, the kind of party she’d detested, but Michael had never made her feel this special or included.
And speaking of Michael...there he was. Right in front of them, an attractive brunette on his arm.
As the four of them came face to face, a moment of heavy silence enveloped them.
Then Tyler broke it. “Michael,” he said easily, extending his hand. “Glad to run into you. I owe you an apology.”
Michael took Tyler’s hand somewhat reluctantly and the woman with him frowned.
“Sorry about hitting you, man,” Tyler continued with his most charming smile, and Chloe almost laughed. “Hope there was no damage done.”
Michael scowled and shook his head, his eyes moving between Chloe and Tyler, so close together there was no mistaking their relationship. “Hello, Chloe.”
“Hi, Michael. How are you?”
“I’m fine.” He introduced Tyler and Chloe to his companion and after a few more polite words, they moved on.
“Well, that was awkward,” Tyler said, a smile touching his lips as he sipped his champagne.
“Thanks to you, you pugilist.”
He grinned. “Hey, I was defending you.”
She smiled. “Thank you,” she said softly. “That really is very sweet. And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth; that would have saved your knuckles. And Michael’s nose.”
Tyler removed her glass from her hand and set both flutes on a small table. Then he swept her into his arms and kissed her, right in the middle of the party, bending her back over his arm so far she had to grasp his shoulders to keep from falling. When he lifted his mouth and she gazed at him in astonishment, he smiled into her eyes.
Tyler glanced sideways, and following his gaze, Chloe saw Michael watching them. Tyler smiled with satisfaction. She whacked his shoulder lightly, but couldn’t help the smile that tugged at her lips. He was staking his claim, deliberately, in public and very, very possessively. It made her feel warm and tingly all over and she, in turn, kissed Tyler back.
His big hands slid down her back, briefly over the curve of her behind as he released her slowly. Then he picked up the champagne flutes and handed one back to her, eyes hot and sparkling at her over the glass as he sipped.
Chloe gulped her champagne, the bubbles stinging her throat and nose.
Later, they danced, the soft breeze off the ocean sliding over them, the sky midnight blue velvet sequined with glimmery stars. Palm trees drifted in the breeze. Tyler held her in his arms, close against him, her hand tucked between them as they moved to the music.
She pressed herself against him as they danced, buzzing with sexual excitement and anticipation. She kept remembering the things Tyler had done to her and how it had felt and every time she thought about those things her tummy fluttered.
“I want to take you home,” he whispered in her ear. “I want to lick you right between your legs.” A small moan escaped her. “I want to eat you until you come and then I want to fuck you every way I can, front, back, sideways, until you can’t even walk.”
“Oh God.” The ache between her legs intensified and she almost stumbled as they danced. “Let’s go.”
He smiled and shook his head. “Just a little longer. I want to dance with you more.”
She almost moaned again. “You’re torturing me.” She let her breath out long and slow.
He laughed softly. “I know. But the build-up is half the fun.” He kissed her cheek and she closed her eyes and sank into him. Heat radiated off his big body and she inhaled as she pressed her face against him, loving the warm spice and citrus scent of him.
When the song ended, Tyler led her back to their table, where they’d eaten dinner with some of his friends. Chloe picked up her glass and pressed it to one hot cheek while Tyler sipped his wine. She was acutely aware of the looks they were getting from the others, but couldn’t bring herself to care, she was so buzzed, so high from being with Tyler and wanting him.
She wanted to get up and drag Tyler out of there as they sat talking to other guests. She rested her hand on his thigh, beneath the table cloth, then shifted her fingers up, closer to his groin...just brushing...yeah, he was hard. Then his face changed and he abruptly said, “Let’s go.”
After quickly smiling their good-nights to the others, Tyler all but dragged her out of the rotunda and down a dark path toward the parking lot. Her heels clicked rapidly on the stone path as she hurried after him.
“Slow down, Tyler,” she begged, laughing, as she tried to keep up with him.
“Sorry,” he muttered. “I waited too long. I need you, now.”
“I needed you three hours ago,” she replied, and together they almost ran to the car.
They fell into his Jag, laughing, breathless, and Tyler started the car. He leaned over to kiss her, his hand on her face and she kissed him back, long and deep.
“God,” he groaned, moving away from her and slamming the car into gear. The wheels spun and spit gravel as he exited the parking lot. “Are we going to my place or yours?” He glanced sideways at her.
“Oh.” She hadn’t thought about that. “My place.” Then, “Is that okay?”
“Christ, yeah,” he said roughly. “I’d do you on the Breakwater right now if I had to, I don’t care where the hell we go.”