The Will and The Way

22 May

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: Hendrik van Oordt.

The Will and the Way by Hendrik van Oordt

Cellist Kim Chalmers is in Paris preparing for a world tour when her fiancé, yaughtsman John Dunesne, is caught in a storm and reported missing. Haunted by John’s loss and a failed childhood love for which she still feels responsible, Kim gets deeply depressed and ready to give up a promising career.

Agent and friend Anne Moorecroft discovers the whereabouts of Kim’s childhood love, Will Evans, now a wild-cat oil operator in the Sahara, and tries to rekindle the fire between Kim and Will. Just then John Dunesne is found alive on the Irish coast. Kim’s heart is in a turmoil. She is faced with a terrible choice. Will she make the right decision?

Excerpt:

“You didn’t bring any bedding?” Will Evans sounded almost sympathetic in his perplexity. “What did you expect to find here? A hotel?”

A smile briefly lit up his face, and Anne could once again feel the powerful attraction exuded by this man. But he didn’t explain the reason for his smile and it was gone in an instant, leaving the same handsome mask as before. He had probably been laughing at her.

“I’ll give you my tent for the night.”

Anne didn’t argue. She was a modern woman who valued her gender equality, but she was far too scared of what was happening to protest that she could sleep under the stars as well as any man. She had never camped out in her life and she had already come to the conclusion that she would never ever do so again. Something was rustling somewhere, and something else was calling to the moon. Away to the right she could make out the silhouettes of the men talking quietly among themselves. Meekly she followed Will Evans to her quarters, a triangular tent so low you had to crouch to get in.

“No extra blankets, I’m afraid. You better keep your clothes on. The tent is insulated, but it’s a lot colder out here than at Fort Khaldun.”

He took out his bedroll, which he dumped right in front of the shelter.

“This is where I’ll be sleeping. If you need to go to the bathroom, it’s back there.” He pointed beyond a hillock and looked at her with an amused air. “Just don’t expect a bathroom.”

                                                                      Prologue

“It’s a good thing your parents don’t know I’m here.” The girl laughed breathlessly.

The boy and the girl were running through the orchard by Hardwood River. Ahead rose the old boathouse, derelict and abandoned since the construction of the new shed near the manor.

It was raining heavily. Both adolescents were drenched. The boy’s heart ached at the sight of the running girl in her bedraggled summer dress, clinging wet to her skin as though it never wanted to let go. It was the way he wanted to hold onto her.

When they reached the door, she turned and smiled through the wet strands of hair plastered against her cheeks and forehead. She took the boy’s face in her hands and kissed him.

“You look so serious,” she whispered. “I want you to tell me your problems. But first I want you to make love to me. That’s all I want from life. Happiness. You.”

“No!” The boy tore himself away, staring wide-eyed at her. “No,” he said again. He was crying soundlessly. “Laetitia knows and is threatening to tell Mom.”

The girl sagged to the ground against the building. “Aunt Mary will kill you,” she said, “if she finds out.”

He shrugged, unable to express himself. How could he explain that he wouldn’t mind whatever punishment his mother had in store for him as long as he could have her?

“I’m leaving home,” he said softly.

The girl looked up sharply. After a moment she laid a hand on his knee. “And me?”

He shook his head in silence. She scrambled to her feet.

“I’m coming with you.”

“No.”

“You can’t stop me.”

No, but society can, he thought sadly. “You’re seventeen, without a passport, and you’re my cousin. If we ran off together, Laetitia would be sure to tell Mom what was going on between us and the police would haul us back in no time. Your life would no longer be worth living. And if I stayed, we’d try to continue what we’re doing. We wouldn’t be able to stop ourselves.”

He stood looking at her for a long time, unable to tear his eyes away from her face.

“I love you, Kim,” he said at last. “I’ve loved you forever, it seems.”

She took his face again in her hands and whispered, “Make love to me.”

He closed his eyes against her searching look. She was scanning his face as if she wanted to reach inside his mind for an argument that would convince him to stay. She bit his ear and put one of his hands on her breast. “Make love to me,” she said again.

He took her hand in his and kissed it long and desperately.

“I’ve signed up on an oil rig for the season. I’m flying out tonight. I’ll be stationed in Greenland. I’ll write.”
The girl began to cry, burying her face in his chest.

                                                                      One

The neighborhood had that old-world charm you find in so many European cities, with deep courtyards, alleys at odd angles, old and rather dusty shops, bars and restaurants everywhere, and far too much traffic for the narrow streets.

It was a beautiful day in Paris, and Kim Chalmers stood lazily watching a couple of teenagers from her second-floor apartment window, enjoying the heat of the late summer sun on her face and upper body. The two kids in the street below were flirting heavily, laughing and showing each other pictures on their cell phones, with just enough body distance to suggest that they might not yet be together. It wouldn’t be long before they found each other, she thought. They would make a cute item. If John were here, he would have concluded cynically that they were negotiating a temporary truce between the sexes. But that was John, and she loved him for what he was, macho warts and all. For all his outward display of cynicism, she knew him for a softy who could not get enough of her and who would stand by her come hell or high water. Literally. John had seen enough rough weather and human misery while sailing around the world on his yacht to be ready to fight for the true things in life, and for reasons she could only marvel at, he thought she was the truest thing in his life.

She thought they would soon be married, if his parents had anything to do with it. His people were the type to keep pushing and arranging until everything was boxed tidily and prettily where it belonged, with the lid on and a neat label, ready for sailing on the great ship of life. Kim and John definitely belonged in the box labeled marriage. John’s mother kept saying so, and Kim had to admit they made a handsome couple. If she had qualms about the freckles on the bridge of her nose and a constant fear of growing fat, she had no doubts at all about John’s physique. He was easily one of the best-looking men she had ever seen, with the sort of carefree walk that made him stand out from the crowd wherever he went; dark, with untamed eyes that made any woman’s heart race faster, and a smile that opened all doors for him.

The sun had dipped behind the buildings across the street, and the kids below her window had moved on, absorbed by the shadows and their own private world. She turned toward the room, wondering what life was all about anyway. All day long she had been feeling strangely nostalgic and rebellious. She loathed anything smacking of self-pity and nostalgia, and yet she was feeling homesick for a past that was utterly irrelevant to her life and future. Perhaps it was the two kids with their cell phones or the burnished copper of the setting sun, reminding her of an Indian summer just like this when she had passionately loved and lost. More likely, the growing pressure on the part of John’s mother highlighted her own doubt that marriage was what she wanted right now with her career taking off. But wherever she looked, things seemed to be throwing up memories of years gone by.

She sighed and looked at her reflection in the mirror and at the comfortable room behind, with its pleasant clutter and spacious dimensions. Even if she did not share John’s unbridled admiration for her looks, the mirror told her she was good-looking by any standard, while her apartment spoke of a life without financial worries. In the words of the magazines, she had it all—talent, beauty and, if not wealth, enough money to lead an independent life. She had no reason to feel sorry for herself. She was twenty-seven and engaged to a dashing adventurer, a once-in-a-lifetime man who was also a gentleman in this graceless day and age, with a circle of friends that was equally glamorous and wild. A man who paid the daily compliment of telling her she was the most beautiful woman in the world and who backed it up with endless gifts. She had no right to indulge in that sort of nonsense.

Resolutely, she turned on the light, took her cello from its stand and placed it between her knees. With just three months to go before a series of concerts that would take her to major concert halls around the world, on the verge of an international breakthrough, this was not the moment to pretend a mid-life crisis. Besides, it was extremely unfair to John. The past was over and done with. She had cried enough to fill a bathtub after Will’s departure and it hadn’t brought him back. For years she had thought she would never forget him and now, when she had finally forgotten, a red sunset and a few rose-colored memories were going to bring him back and spoil the party? Teenage love. Never again, thank you very much. Look at the puppy love of those kids passing below her window. Think of the tears they would shed, only to go off and make an entirely different life with someone else, all promises forgotten.

Angrily she tightened the bow of her instrument, snapping several horsehairs.

“Stupid girl,” she muttered, anxiously eying the wood for cracks. Her bow was a beautiful example from a 19th-century maker, a gift from her teacher when she graduated with honors from the conservatory, and she’d never forgive herself if she damaged it. “No man is worth your ruination, you hear?” she crooned as she loosened the screw. “Not John, not Will, not any man.”

She played old folk tunes of the kind that wailed about broken promises and impossible loves, until the professional in her took over and she settled down to playing scales. She had been at it for over an hour, almost satisfied with the blur of her fingers as they slid, stopped and vibrated across the fingerboard, when the doorbell rang. She wondered who it could be. She did not encourage unannounced callers when practicing.

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/HendrikvanOordt.html#WillWayExc#

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Will-Way-Hendrik-Oordt-ebook/dp/B00IUTGZXO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400770934&sr=8-1&keywords=the+will+and+the+way+hendrik+van+oordt

The Mystery of Whale House…

21 May

A GSP release from Author of the Week: Hendrik van Oordt.

The Mystery of Whale House by Hendrik van Oordt

Shipped off to an aunt and uncle on remote Rew island while their parents are moving house, Frank, Dana and Martin are bored to death in a place without internet or even proper cell phone reception. All the locals talk about is the lobster catch. But just when our city-bred heroes decide to start boycotting their aunt’s fish soup, they hear a story about a mad woman and her son living in Whale House, a gothic monstrosity perched on an isolated peninsula up north. Cut off from the remainder of the island by a sudden storm, the three teens are forced to seek refuge in Whale House, where they discover a terrible secret. After considerable adventures, they come face to face with their captors, who cannot afford to let them escape…

Excerpt:

Whale House stands at the end of the world. Everybody on Rew Island has heard the story of the boy who tried to cross to the House for a dare and was swept away by the waves and drowned. For most of the year it is blanketed in fog and rain, making it impossible to reach. Even when the weather is fair, the ocean washes over the slippery causeway at high tide. And fair weather never lasts long over there. Aye, it is a dangerous place to visit.

     Thus began the story Mr. Buirr told Frank, Dana and Martin one morning in the little harbor of Rew.
     How the children hated Rew! They were on the island under serious protest. They disliked everything about it, particularly the total absence of internet connections. In fact, they considered their holiday a punishment and a ploy to get them away from their computers and their mp3 downloads.
     Of course, the trip was not meant to be a punishment. It was merely a practical solution to give their parents the breather needed to decorate the family’s new home. But try telling that to a boy who has to trade his videogames for old-fashioned board games or a girl who can no longer spend her evenings chatting online with her girlfriends!
     Only Martin, who was the youngest, had liked the idea of going to stay with an aunt and an uncle they had never met. He enjoyed adventure stories and he was sure Rew Island must have loads of hidden treasure. He had therefore been deeply disappointed when Uncle Robert told him laughingly that no pirates had ever visited the coast.
     “The only treasure we have is the oysters in the bay,” Uncle Robert said. Martin secretly disagreed. Oysters were no treasure. They looked disgusting when you opened them and they tasted worse.
     Even worse, Uncle Robert and Aunt Nelly expected you to eat everything on your plate and somehow, when Aunt Nelly looked at you, you didn’t dare to object that you’d rather have a hamburger than some slimy animal from the sea.
     Yes, Frank, Dana and Martin couldn’t wait to go home after their first few days on Rew Island.
     And they had just resolved to write their parents (their aunt had no telephone and mobile phones just didn’t seem to capture a signal on the island) when they met Mr. Buirr. They immediately forgot all about their plans to go home. It was the start of an adventure, though they didn’t know it yet.
     Aunt Nelly had become so tired of their hanging around the house that she had said, quite crossly, “It’s a beautiful day and I’ve got work to do. Why don’t you go and see Mr. Buirr? He’s that old man with the pipe down by the harbor and he’s got all the time in the world to tell you stories and keep you occupied.”
     “What kind of stories?” Martin asked eagerly.
     “Oh, I don’t know. He loves telling stories. Ask him about Whale House; that will keep him talking. After all, the whole island’s been on about it forever. Now, off you go!”
     She had only said it to get them out of the house, but she had been right. When they saw Mr. Buirr they were delighted. He was the best thing they had come across so far on the island. Even Dana, who was really only into animals, had to admit he was interesting.
     He looked as if he had sailed every one of the Seven Seas. You just knew that he must have lots of interesting stories to tell. In fact, he could have stepped straight out of a television series with his weathered face and deep blue eyes. The only thing missing was a parrot on his shoulder.
     And so they said politely “Good morning” to the bearded old sailor and stood waiting patiently while he finished mending his net, secretly hoping that he’d talk to them and tell them a thrilling story about Shanghai (which Martin wanted to hear), wonderful animals (Dana’s wish) or life on board a ship (Frank’s preference).
     Finally he put down his tools with a sigh, took out a pipe and said, “You’re the kids staying with the Coulders, ain’t that so?”
     The children nodded eagerly.
     The old man lit his pipe and, between puffs, said, “I guess Mrs. Coulder told you I’ve been round and about, right?” He chuckled when they nodded. “Well, I’ve seen a scary thing or two in my time and I didn’t have far to go. Them winter storms can put fear into the strongest fisherman. Aye.” He puffed quietly for a few moments.
     Before he could open his mouth to continue Martin interrupted, “Please, sir. What is Whale House?”
     The old man frowned unexpectedly in annoyance. “Who’s been telling you about Whale House? Your aunt, is it? Don’t she know better? Them women chatter far too much. They’re garrulous creatures and talk about things best left alone. Don’t you go to the House, I’m telling ye! It’s a dangerous place.
     “And the folks there don’t like visitors. They never did. Aye, the House is at the end of the world. I went there when a lad. I weren’t older than you,” (here he pointed his pipe at Dana, who was thirteen) “and I were that scared. The waves was crashing all over and when you saw one coming you had to run like the Divvil to miss it. I was nary swept away twice. These days the weather ain’t what it used to be.
     “You kids could cross now and no harm come to you but I wouldn’t recommend it! The House is a strange place. And it sure is the end of the world. Now you listen to me because I’m going to tell you a secret. But you’ve got to keep it secret, mind!”
     The children nodded enthusiastically, thrilled by Mr. Buirr’s hushed voice. They were ready to promise anything to hear his secret. The old man looked at them suspiciously, as if not certain how far he could trust them.
     “Tell us, please!” said Dana, who felt she would die if Mr. Buirr didn’t reveal his secret.
     “All right then. Ye won’t believe what I’m about to tell you and yet it’s the solemn truth, so help me!”

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/HendrikvanOordt.html#WHExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Whale-House-Hendrik-Oordt-ebook/dp/B005D1CCNY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400684444&sr=8-1&keywords=the+mystery+of+whale+house

 

GSP Author of the Week: Hendrik van Oordt

20 May

Congratulations to GSP Author of the Week: Hendrik van Oordt.

Hendrik van Oordt, author of The Mystery of Whale House

Dutch sculptor and occasional writer. Two non-fiction books (Le lexique bilingue d’analyse financière, Accent International, France and Bloemen, Taal & Symboliek; Elmar, Netherlands), some loose stories, a romance under the pseudonym Alicia Holland (The Woman’s Story, Wings ePress, United States), a storybook for young children under the pseudonym Mols Hoop (Van Beesten en Monsters; Free Musketeers, Netherlands)

Watch this space for releases from the author.

The Wrath of Leah….

16 May

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: G. E. Stills

The Wrath of Leah by G. E. Stills

Leah’s home has been burned to the ground and a man she once loved has killed her mother. She is taken to a new world, held captive and tortured by a ruthless sorcerer. Jan helps her escape and takes her to his village. The people there look to her for salvation. How can she, a simple woman from Earth with no special abilities, possibly live up to their expectations?

Excerpt:

Crossing the clearing between her house and the barn where she kept her horses, Leah glanced around. Tall pines surrounded the clearing containing the buildings. Only a slight breeze whispering through the pine needles disturbed the early morning silence. She loved the silence and the solitude her remote location in the mountains provided. The last of the snow had melted away and the first tiny sprigs that would grow to be a riot of beautiful wildflowers had pushed up from the ground to the right of her wooden cabin.

It’s so much different here than in the town fifteen miles away, where I spent my first twenty years.

Leah stepped into her cabin and poured a cup of coffee. As she sat at the table with her hands wrapped around the steaming cup, she thought back to her high school days and specifically, Mike. For two years, they’d dated and made plans for the future, like going to college together. Maybe even living together. Reaching up, she twirled a lock of her chestnut-colored hair, wondering what it would look like next week when she had it cut to off to shoulder length.

Her memories turned once more to Mike. He was an only child and lived with his parents half a mile from her house. She remembered the day as if it had happened yesterday. Mike was supposed to call that Saturday morning and together they would make plans for the senior dance. He didn’t call. By midafternoon, she tired of waiting and called him. The phone rang and rang.

I was worried. He never broke a promise before. The next day, she borrowed her mom’s car and drove to his house. It was vacant. Glancing through the curtainless window, she saw that the room was bare. The front door was unlocked. She strolled through the empty house in disbelief.

She searched, using every means she could think to locate them. Nothing—not a single clue, as if they had dropped off the face of the Earth. She was crushed. The boy who owned her heart had simply vanished.

A few months later, her dad died, killed in a car accident. The two most important men in her life had been ripped away from her in less than six months. She graduated from high school, but delayed entering college. Instead, she moved here to the cabin her parents owned. Pleasant memories from her childhood surrounded her. She begged her mom to come with her, but she refused, remaining behind to work at her job. Her mother, in turn, expressed deep concern that her daughter would be living in the mountains alone.

“I need time to think, to grieve,” Leah explained. “I’ll go to college soon.”

It was still hard for her to fathom—three years had passed. She would be twenty-one next month. She took a sip of coffee. I kept my promise, Mom. I’m enrolled in college. I start this fall.

The crunch of gravel jerked her from her melancholy thoughts and alerted her of visitors. Leah strolled toward the door and answered at the knock. Her mother, Janice, stood framed in the doorway.

“I would’ve called, but I just had to see the expression on your face.”

Leah moved back to let her mother in. “What’s going on, Mom?”

Janice stepped to the side and Leah saw for the first time her mother hadn’t come alone. Her jaw dropped and her knees wobbled when she saw him. His piercing blue eyes, wavy black hair and great physique left no doubt. “Mike?”

“One and the same,” he said.

She wanted to rush into his arms, and at the same time wanted to beat on his chest for never having contacted her over the years.

“I answered the door this morning,” her mother explained, “and there he was.”

Leah stumbled back and sat in her easy chair heavily. “Where have you been?”

“Away.”

“Away! That’s all you can say?”

“Don’t I get a hug and a kiss?”

She wanted to. She wanted to fly into his arms, but at the same time displeasure with his response held her back. “Not until you can give me a better answer for where you’ve been the last three years.”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

Her displeasure was escalating into anger. He was avoiding her question. “Try me.” Again, she heard the crunch of gravel. Now who?

Car doors slammed and a burly man darkened the doorway. She could see there were two others behind him.

“About time,” Mike snapped.

She glanced at Janice, who looked just as surprised as she felt. She looked up at Mike, waiting for an explanation. His eyes had taken on an iciness that sent a shiver racing through her.

“We got here as quickly as possible, Lothar,” the first man said.
Lothar? Who’s Lothar?

“Is that the bitch?” the man asked, indicating her.

Anger having come to full bloom, Leah sprang to her feet. “I don’t know who you are, but I didn’t invite you into my house and I won’t be called names. Get out! All of you get out. Mike, who are these men?”

He ignored her question. “That’s her, Olaf. The other one is her mother. Secure them both.”

Olaf and one of the men surged at her. The other man angled off toward her mother. Leah fought like a tigress, but the strength and size of the men quickly prevailed. In a short time, plastic ties secured her arms and legs. Olaf ripped a piece from her now-buttonless blouse and shoved it in her mouth, cutting off her swearing. He stood behind her, holding her down in the chair. She glared at Mike for a moment and glanced at her mom. Her arms and legs were also bound.

“We’ll take the witch with us. What about this one?” the man holding her mother asked.

Mike directed his gaze at her. In a voice cold enough to freeze a bonfire, he said, “She’s of no further use. Kill her.”

Leah struggled, attempting to rise, but Olaf held her in place. She watched the third man draw a wicked-looking knife and plunge it into her mother’s heart while holding his hand over her mouth to keep her silent. After twisting it several times, he pulled it free. Leah watched in shock until her mother’s wild bucking and twisting stopped. A spreading stain of blood spread over her green blouse as the older woman twitched. Her head bobbed, and she was gone.

Callously, the man wiped the blade clean on her mother’s clothes.

The gag in her mouth muffled Leah’s choking sobs. Tears stung her eyes. She closed them, attempting in vain to shut out the awful sight of her mother being murdered. Pain lanced through her heart.

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/GEStills.html#LeahExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wrath-Leah-G-Stills-ebook/dp/B00JEMSPKW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400252934&sr=8-1&keywords=the+wrath+of+leah+ge+stills

Not Good Enough….

15 May

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: G. E. Stills.

Not Good Enough by G. E. Stills

Before the cruise begins, Jay innocently asks Trish and her friend for a dance and is not only turned down, but insulted when Trish’s friend tells Jay he isn’t good enough for them. Trish is captivated by Jay’s smile, but once her friend has her say, Trish is sure Jay is lost to her. Trying to apologize to him later, Trish witnesses two men tossing Jay overboard and finds herself thrown in after him as well. Imagine Jay’s chagrin later when he finds himself washed up on an island with Trish and the constant reminder of their unpleasant encounter before the cruise. But Jay isn’t what he first appears to be, and as the two of them get acquainted, Trish realizes he is a keepeer. What will happen when they are rescued and Trish goes back to her mundane life, determined to forget Jay?

Chapter 1

“Wow, look at the arms on that one. And that hair . . . It’s just to die for, I tell ya.” Sheila pointed out the man standing at the bar with muscular arms and shoulder-length hair. “Or maybe that one,” she said, pointing to a man seated at one of the tables across the dance floor from them, wearing a three-piece suit. “I can smell the money on that one.”

Trish followed Sheila’s pointing finger as she directed her attention to the men around the bar. All of them were either handsome hunks, or had the look of wealth. Sheila downed another shot and chased it with gulp from her fruity drink. From the glassy look in her eyes and her slightly slurred speech, it was obvious to Trish she was getting highly intoxicated.

“Don’t you think maybe you should slow down on the drinks a little?”

“Naw, I’m okay. I’m not driving,” she said, shaking her head slowly, “and I’m going to find a man for you tonight yet.”

“Sheila, I don’t need a man. I just got out of a relationship.”

“Relationship? Is that what you call it? I call it slow death. You were with him since college. Trish, Todd treated you like crap.”

“Not in the beginning, he didn’t. Before I put on a little weight . . . and before the car accident, things were different.”

Sheila rolled her eyes. “You look fine, Trish. Maybe dressed a little conservative, in my opinion. I mean, you have to put yourself out there, show a little leg and cleavage if you want to reel in a man. Just look at me.”

Trish exhaled loudly in disgust. “I told you, I’m not looking for one. The only reason I’m going on this cruise is because you asked. And you say, look at you? Damn it, Sheila, if that dress you’re wearing got any shorter . . . well, it wouldn’t leave anything to the imagination. If it was cut any lower, your boobs would be hanging out on display—and how long did it take you to put on that makeup?”

Sheila ignored her. “Oh, damn, look at that one. Geez, I wouldn’t mind wrapping my arms around that one. Maybe even my legs, provided he has a lot of money.” She giggled, hid a tiny belch and then added, “Look at the guys I’ve been with compared to Todd.”

“Yeah, look at them. You’ve been married three times. Just ended one, and you’re only—”

“Careful,” Sheila warned her off the subject of age. “You’re older than I am.”

“I’m just saying that having been married and divorced three times by your early thirties is not exactly a good track record. Your life is not exactly a shining example.”

“The first one couldn’t afford the lifestyle I wanted. The second one tried to put me on a budget. Screw him. The third one . . . the third one couldn’t satisfy my other needs.”

“Imagine that. He was over twice your age. I sometimes wonder why you and I are even friends. We’re so different.”

“Ah, come on, Trish. You know you love me. We’ve been friends since childhood.” She might have continued, but just then a man stepped up to their table.

“Good evening, ladies. Would either of you care to dance?”

Trish looked up at him. Although he was dressed nice, it wasn’t a fancy suit. She cringed at some of the flamboyant styles the hunks Sheila pointed out wore. No, he was just dressed nice.

He had a pronounced widows-peak, thinning hair cropped short, and a slight bulge in the belly area. The man didn’t have bulging biceps, but his arms weren’t skinny either. His eyes were just a little glassy, like Sheila’s, indicating he’d had a few drinks, too. What really grabbed her attention though, was the brilliant smile on his face.

Just a normal guy with a wonderful smile.

Then Sheila spoke, and his smile faded into a frown. “Go away, fatso. You’re blocking our view of the real men. You know, the ones that aren’t fat. The ones that have hair . . . and muscles.”

He glared at Sheila “I was just asking. There’s no need for insults.” Turning, he looked at Trish. “And what about you, would you like to dance?”

“Loser,” Sheila sang out and made an L on her forehead. “She doesn’t want to dance with you, fat boy. You’re not good enough for her, either.” Sheila kicked Trish under the table to insure compliance.

“Fine,” the man growled. “A simple no would have sufficed.”

“Your kind don’t take a simple no. Now go away.”

“My kin—” Without another word and with a strong glare, the man turned and walked away.

“Geez, Sheila. Sometimes I’m completely embarrassed to be with you. You’re downright mean at times. After all he only asked us to dance.”

“The hell with him. He’ll get over it. I’m over it. Besides, after tonight we’ll never see him again.”

Sliding her chair back, Trish excused herself to go to the restroom, and as no surprise to her when she returned, Sheila was out on the dance floor, her arms wrapped tight around a Beefcake. She didn’t come back to the table for the next dance, or the one after that.

Trish couldn’t help looking for the man with the nice smile. Yep, there he was. Alone. She made eye contact with him and gave him her best come hither look. With a smile, she watched him get to his feet and start in her direction.

This time I’ll do my own talking.

He came to a stop at her table. “Where’s your rude girlfriend? I don’t think she likes me much.” That winning smile stretched across his face once more.

“She’s right behind you,” Sheila said. Neither of them had noticed her arrival with the Hunk in tow. “And you’re almost right; I don’t like you at all. I thought we got rid of you. Maybe you need a little physical persuasion.”

Turning to her muscle-bound companion, she said, “Theo, this person, I refuse to call it a man, will not go away. Perhaps you could convince him.”

Once again, the smile on his face vanished. This time his frown was directed at her. Trish wanted to slide beneath the table to escape the daggers his glare focused on her.

For once in your life, Sheila, shut your mouth.

“I was mistaken,” he said to her. “I thought that you wanted to—Never mind.”

Turning to Sheila he grumbled, “I was just leaving. I thought your girlfriend wanted to see me. Guess I was wrong.”

Theo clamped his hand onto the man’s arm. With a look of fury cold enough to make hell freeze over and a voice so low it was nearly a whisper, he growled at Theo. “Theo . . . if you value that hand . . . and don’t want it broken . . . you’d better take it off my arm.”

Oh God. That’s all we need is a fight.

She could see in the man’s eyes that the words were not an idle threat, but a promise. Now that she was able to look closer, she saw that, though not bulging with muscle like Theo, the man’s arms were very strong. His demeanor screamed, Don’t mess with me. She hoped Theo would see it, too. To her relief, Theo picked up the same vibes. He released his grip on the man’s arm.

With a glance at her—frigid enough to make her shiver, he walked away.

“Such an annoying person. See, I told you his type doesn’t take no for an answer,” Sheila said.

She sat down beside Trish, and Theo took a seat across from them. She introduced them. “Theo, this is Trish; Trish, Theo. Theo has a friend, and the two of them have invited us to an after-hours party in their room.” Leaning over, Sheila whispered in her ear. “I’ve seen his friend. He’s a beefcake, just like Theo. So anyway, how about it?”

She looked at Sheila and then at Theo before whispering, “Sheila, Theo can’t be more than his early twenties. He and his friend are probably looking for one thing, especially from an older woman. I really don’t think we should go.”

“He thinks I’m only twenty-five,” Sheila whispered back and giggled.

Shaking her head, Trish said aloud, “I think I’ll pass. I’m kind of tired. We need to get around early tomorrow for the cruise.”

“Well, I’m going. See you later, Trish,” Sheila huffed, clearly not happy with Trish’s decision not to go with them. “Come on, Theo; let’s see if we can find another girl to party with us.” With that, the two of them got up and left.

Picking up her drink, she wandered out onto the patio area and stood at the railing, looking up at the stars.

Why I put up with Sheila I will never know.

Glancing to her side, she saw the man with the smile again. She started toward him to apologize, but never got the chance. He spotted her at the same time, turned his back and walked as far away as possible.

So much for apologizing for Sheila’s bad manners. I’m sorry, she thought at him. Finishing her drink, she left the nightclub and strolled back to her room.

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/GEStills.html#NotGood

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Not-Good-Enough-G-Stills-ebook/dp/B005Z2F00S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400174101&sr=8-1&keywords=not+good+enough+g.e.+stills

Forbidden Love…

14 May

A GSP release from Author of the Week: G. E. Stills.

Forbidden Love by G. E. Stills

Sherry and Rodger have known each other since childhood. They’ve been good friends for a long time, but have lost contact over the years. Chance brings them together once more. There is an almost magnetic attraction between them. Over the course of two days they become much more than just friends. There is one problem though, Sherry is the ex-wife of Dave, Rodger’s cousin. Dave is the son of a very wealthy and powerful man and he is determined to make Sherry’s life miserable. She is very afraid of him. He would definitely not approve of Sherry and Rodger’s relationship if he found out.

Excerpt:

Rodger had just returned from overseas the week before. His enlistment in the Army ended at the same time, so he was staying with his parents until he found a job. His parents ran a dairy farm about fifty miles north of the Midwest Nebraska town of Colter where he was presently, having found nothing in the way of female company in the nearby North Scotia. Colter, with a population of about thirty thousand, was almost a huge city compared to the small ones closer to the farm.

“I’m going to Colter. Gonna do some shopping, maybe look for a job,” he told his mom just before he left the house. The first he actually intended to do, the second . . . well, he was not in any big hurry to find a job and settle into a day-to-day routine. He’d put money in savings the whole time he was overseas, so money to live on was not an immediate factor. Doesn’t take much to live on when you are restricted to base in a war zone, he reminded himself. He was just ready to relax and unwind for a few weeks.

Which brought him to the real reason for being in Colter―the night clubs. He hoped to meet a single female at one of these clubs; drink and dance and just be in her company for the evening. Of course, I won’t refuse sex either if the chance presents itself. I’ve been out of the states for almost two years. It’s been far too long since I had female company, to say nothing about sex.

The sixty-eight cherry red Mustang he drove was his baby. Thanks to being in storage most of the last four years and a lot of time spent waxing and polishing, it still looked showroom new. The inside was as spotless as the outside. It should do very well as a chick magnet. He grinned from ear-to-ear.
His grin faded into a frown when he started across an intersection and the car quit―it rolled through the intersection and he guided it over to the curb. He stepped out and looked under it to see if by chance the drive shaft had come loose or broken. It was still intact.

“Shit,” he said aloud, “I wonder what’s wrong?”

A transmission shop just happened to be about half a block away, so he locked the car and walked down to it. He told them what had happened and they agreed to have a look at it. It was close enough that several of the mechanics got together and pushed it to the shop. After the service manager told him to check back later, he left his baby to their care.

He walked around in the downtown area, mostly window shopping and killing time. Damn I wonder what is wrong with my car? A few hours later he returned to the transmission shop and got the bad news: his transmission would require a complete overhaul.

“It’ll take about two days,” the service manager told him.

So much for my plans. I guess I will try to get out to the interstate and get a motel room.

He found a payphone and called his parents to let them know the situation and that he would not be home. Looking at his watch, he realized his mom and dad could not come get him since it was getting close to time to start milking the cows.

“Why don’t you call Sherry? Maybe your cousin Dave is down there or is going down there to visit his son. You might be able to catch a ride with him. Just a suggestion.”

Sherry was his Cousin Dave’s ex-wife. Dave lived in North Scotia with his parents. Mom, if you only knew how much Dave and I dislike each other you wouldn’t even suggest I catch a ride with him. His thoughts drifted to Sherry.

I didn’t even know Sherry lived here. I haven’t seen her since we were high school kids. He had no intention of asking fuckhead Dave for a ride, but it would be a good enough reason to call her. Not that he really needed a reason, but it would serve as an ice breaker to renew their friendship.

“Thanks Mom. I’ll do that. You don’t happen to know her number, do you?”

“No, but I’m sure she’s listed in the phone book. Your dad and I can come get you after milking in the morning if he’s not there.”

“Nah. If worse comes to worst, I’ll just stay down here a couple days until my car is fixed. No sense in you coming down here just to turn around and bring me back down to pick it up. Bye Mom, see you in a couple days. Sooner if I catch a ride.” Not fuckin’ likely, if I have to ride with ‘him’. He grinned.

Rodger’s parents hadn’t always been farmers. Rodger had grown up in a large city far away from the small sleepy town of North Scotia. His parents had moved onto the dairy farm while he was in the Army.

He and Sherry had been close even though many miles had separated them when growing up. They only saw each other for about two weeks a year when he was on vacation with his parents. He was much closer to her than he’d ever been to her ex-husband, dear old Dave.

They’d talked on the phone frequently and shared all their teenage experiences over the years. Some of them had been very intimate and personal. Some of them had been silly like who their favorite bands were. Sherry had talked him through the heartbreak of teenage breakups. He had helped her get through the frequent fights she had with Dave. The two of them seemed to be drawn together like magnets. Nothing sexual, just excellent friends. When Sherry got pregnant he had been the first one she told. She told him even before she told the father.

Poor Dave. What a joke. Rodger knew better. Dave was an asshole. At least that is the way he felt about him. Sherry had gotten pregnant before getting married and now had a two-year-old little boy. Because of Dave’s insistence they not talk, he and Sherry had lost contact. Even after the divorce they’d never renewed their friendship. Partly because he was over seas. He missed the close friendship they’d once shared prior to her marriage. He picked up the phone now and called her.

A female voice answered, “Hello?”

He didn’t quite know how to start the conversation, so he just dived in and started by identifying himself, “Sherry, this is Rodger. How are you? We haven’t talked in a long time.”

After a long moment of silence on the other end of the line, the woman hesitatingly asked, “Rodger . . . Dave’s cousin Rodger?”

“Yes, that Rodger.”

“My God. We haven’t talked for such a long time. How are you? Where are you? I heard you were visiting your parents.”

“I’ve been better. My car broke down here in Colter,” Rodger hesitated then asked, “Sherry, is Dave by any chance here, or coming here?”

“No, he’s not here and I’m not expecting him, why?”
 

He explained the situation to her. He asked if it would be possible for her to give him a ride out to one of the motels by the interstate.

“Sure,” she told him. “I’ll be there in about thirty minutes. Just watch for my battered old white Chevy II.” She laughed.

After some final words with the service manager and signing more forms, Rodger stepped out on the sidewalk in front of the shop to wait.

I wonder what she looks like now. She was always so pretty before. It’s been so long since I have seen or talked to her. Too long.

About an hour later a Chevy II pulled up to the curb in front of him. It was just as she had described, ‘battered and old’. Dings and dents, with primer in a number of places. She stepped out on the sidewalk to greet him. After they exchanged hugs, she leaned back against the car door.

She looked nice, in a proper sort of way. She’d always dressed rather conservatively, in his opinion. Most of the girls from around here dress that way. Not like the more revealing way the girls dress in the city where I grew up. She wore a knee-length print skirt and a matching button-up print blouse with all but the very top button fastened and white sandals.

She saw him looking at the car and with a shrug she explained, “This is the only thing the asshole left me to drive when we got divorced. I guess it beats walking, though.”

As if it had just occurred to her she suggested, “Rodger, you should come over to my house first, so we can visit before I take you to the motel; that is, if you don’t mind visiting with your cousin’s ex. It’s been ages since we talked and even longer since we saw each other. No sense in your spending the entire evening out there sitting in a room by yourself.”

He snorted. “I always liked you much better than I did him.” He laughed at his understatement. “That’d be great. I wasn’t looking forward to staring at four walls all evening. Getting reacquainted sounds like an excellent idea,” he agreed, and walking around to the passenger side, got into the seat.

She turned to him and introduced the child in the car seat beside her. “Rodger this is my son, Jacob. Jacob, honey, this is Rodger.”

Jacob didn’t say anything, of course; he just looked at Rodger with big green eyes very much like his mother’s. The last time he’d seen Sherry she wasn’t even pregnant and now she had this little man. Rodger made googly eyes at him and was at last rewarded with a giggle and a smile.     

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/GEStills.html#ForbiddenExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Love-G-E-Stills-ebook/dp/B00440DPFY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400085665&sr=8-1&keywords=forbidden+love+g.e.stills

GSP Author of the Week: G. E. Stills

13 May

Congratulations to GSP Author of the Week: G. E. Stills

G.E. Stills, Author of Forbidden Love, Not Good Enough and The Witch and the Squirrels

Stills says: I live in the southwest with my wife, dog and a cat. I have grown children with children of their own. In the past I was a mechanic and then a business owner, retired. I have always loved to read and enjoyed writing stories from an early age. Most of my time now is spent in front of my keyboard writing or sitting back and thinking about a current WIP or a new story to write. When not engaged in my favorite pastime of writing, I enjoy boating and camping.

My stories primarily deal with paranormal, fantasy or science fiction and all of them, thus far, involve romance. The heat levels vary from non-erotic to sizzling. Most of my characters are strong and assertive; many are outspoken. Many of my characters have magical abilities or are normal people in abnormal situations with a strong sense of justice. My villains are, well . . . villains, doing villainous things.

Watch this space for releases from the author.