9.29.2013

#SnippetSunday #8Sunday - 09.29.13

SNIPPET SUNDAY

Each Sunday, fellow writers on the Facebook page, Snippet Sunday, share excerpts from their work on their blogs. To read more follow this link

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnippetSunday/461163367303186.

This week's snippet comes from Deceptions of the Heart. Click on cover for purchase link.




Here's the set up...

Rhonda has just come back from a lunch meeting with Anson's daughter Marnie. After their hostile encounter, she is even more confused about Jennifer and the antagonism toward her from everyone in her life. Once she is back at the Cristobal's house, she confronts the housekeeper, Sudha, hoping to gain more information.

Here's the eight...


Sudha’s dark head was bent over her work as she chopped a variety of brightly-colored peppers. A plate of meat cut into cubes, raw and seeping blood, sat at her elbow. A steamer of rice stood ready on the counter.

“What are you cooking?” I asked.

    The blade drew across wood and then empty air. Her chest rose and fell before she set the knife on the cutting board, turning toward me. “Do not startle me with a knife in my hands. That is very dangerous.” She smiled, but there was no light in her eyes—only a mysterious smoldering fire, dark and foreboding.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet from Deceptions of the Heart. Here is what one reviewer had to say about the book...

This is indeed a quick and refreshing read. Such complexities and intrigues are uncommon in most Mystery books. I also like that it is a psychological novel with a lot of mind games leading to unraveling the mystery (think a little bit of Gone Girl by Flynn). I’m surprised this book isn’t getting the popularity it deserves. I commend Moncrief’s plotting skills in this novel. If you enjoy thriller and mystery, you would thoroughly love this book – I found this book gripping, utterly suspenseful, intriguing and exhilarating. Vera at http://verasreadingblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/de

Deceptions of the Heart can be purchased at this Amazon link. Check out my other books on Amazon.








9.27.2013

Should you listen to your heart?



Deceptions of the Heart is now only 99¢



How many times have you heard the phrase, “Listen to your heart,” or maybe someone has suggested, “Follow your heart?” How many times has the heroine in the tear-jerker romance been asked, “What does your heart tell you?” Well what if the heart beating in your chest once belonged to someone else? Is it still a good idea to follow your heart?

There is a theory called cellular memory transfer that suggests human cells contain information about personality, preference, and personal history, details about the essence of a human being. Most of the evidence for these phenomena comes from the anecdotes of heart transplant recipients.

Here is one story that I found particularly fascinating. As reported by Paul Pearsall in his book, The Heart’s code: tapping the wisdom and power of our heart energy, published by Broadway Books in 1999.

“An eight year-old girl, who received the heart of a murdered ten year-old girl, began having recurring vivid nightmares about the murder. Her mother arranged a consultation with a psychiatrist who after several sessions concluded that she was witnessing actual physical incidents. They decided to call the police who used the detailed descriptions of the murder (the time, the weapon, the place, the clothes he wore, what the little girl he killed had said to him) given by the little girl to find and convict the man in question.” Source

Most accounts of cellular memory transfer aren’t as extreme. Usually transplant patients adopt the donor’s habits or feel their emotions. They like what the donor liked. Cut their hair the same way. Marry someone with the same name. They develop hobbies and interests similar to the donor—care about things the donor cared about.

I love asking “what if” questions. What if the concept was taken to the extreme? What if a recipient changed so much the person’s entire personality was altered?

In the 1991 film Body Parts, a criminal psychologist loses his arm in a car crash and becomes one of three patients to have their missing limbs replaced by those belonging toan executed serial killers. Well, you can imagine what direction the plot line went from there.

The inspiration for my book, Deceptions of the Heart, came from asking the same type of “what if” question. What if someone woke up one morning in another person’s body? What if a woman received not only a new heart, but also all the memories and the personality of the donor? What if the transfer was so complete the woman didn’t know anything about the woman whose body she inhabited?

Here’s an excerpt from the book at the moment Rhonda realizes she’s not inside her own skin.

Hysteria insinuated its warped fingers into the convoluted whorls and ridges of my psyche. Tears welled in the corners of my eyes, but I swiped them away. I clawed at the flimsy lingerie that threatened to slip from my shoulders as if it was eating my skin, pulled the top over my head and threw the offending garment on the floor, leaving my upper body exposed. My eyes traveled down my torso. A rough trail dissected the middle of my chest, right between the ribs. I stared at the oddity, fascinated, horrified, and perplexed. My nail traced the scar. The surgery was months, maybe years, old.

I ripped through the room until I found a huge walk-in closet full of women’s clothing. Row upon row of shoes were arranged neatly on the floor, handbags lined the top shelf. The Fendi I’d been gazing at for weeks lay toward the back of the stack as if it were yesterday’s toy. My shaky hand snatched open the nearest drawer filled with every accessory imaginable. I slammed the drawer shut.

I borrowed a matching shirt and skirt. With another woman’s clothes on my back, I dared to look into the full-length mirror. I tensed. Someone was in the closet with me. I touched my cheek. She touched hers. I blinked, she blinked. The face reflected back at me wasn’t mine, yet there I stood, facing the mirror, gazing at my own reflection.

I stuffed my hand in my mouth and dropped to the floor. Every hard thing I’d endured in the past few months came barreling out of my tear ducts, cascading down my cheeks, falling onto someone else’s expensive couture. I rubbed the unwanted moisture away with the flat of my hand, then closed my eyes and forced them open again. Nothing changed in the interim.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of Deceptions of the Heart. The book is available from



9.26.2013

#ThursYumYum - Beef Enchiladas with Spicy Chile Sauce

Okay, I gotta say Mexican is my favorite food in the world. I could eat it three times a day if it weren't for the calories and how badly it would affect my blood sugar. Since I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, I've had to cut back on how often and how much of my favorite food I eat.

When I was in Colorado a few years ago, I ordered enchiladas that were covered with a spicy red chile sauce from a wonderful Durango restaurant called Francisco's. I enjoyed my experience so much that I had one of my characters in my upcoming release Purgatory order enchiladas from Francisco's. Poor Chris had the same reaction I did. She grabbed her water and gulped down an ounce or two to put out the fire from the sauce. Then she enjoyed the remainder of her meal!


View of Durango looking toward the train station. If you looked the other direction, you would see the block where Francisco's is located. Photo (c) Denise Moncrief 2004

I don't have Francisco's recipe for those enchiladas and I doubt they would give it to me just because I asked. However, I have found a wonderful recipe for beef enchiladas with a spicy red chile sauce that I enjoy. I found this recipe years ago and don't quite remember where I found it. I've tweaked it to my taste over the years. I hope you enjoy it! 

For the chile sauce

olive oil
1/4 of a finely chopped large onion
4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground oregano
4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 C chunky salsa
1 6 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 C beef broth

For the meat filling

1 lb ground lean ground beef
3/4 of a finely chopped large onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp each chili powder and cumin
1/2 C of the chile sauce from above (enough to make meat mixture moist but not soggy)
1/2 C beef broth
1/2 C shredded Mexican blend cheese

For rolling the enchiladas

cooking spray
8 six inch tortillas (I prefer flour rather than corn)
Mexican blend cheese (I usually use the remainder of a 2 C bag)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Prepare the chile sauce first. Saute the onion on medium heat in the olive oil until onion is softened. Add the garlic and stir over low heat about 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce listed above, stirring until the sauce is smooth.

3. Prepare the meat mixture next. Brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and cumin. Add the 1/2 C chile sauce. Add a little of the beef broth at a time until you can see how moist the mixture is going to be. I don't like my mix to be too soupy. Add the 1/2 C cheese. Now your enchiladas are ready to roll.

4. Heat skillet to medium heat. Spray tortillas front and back with cooking spray to warm. Remove the tortilla from the skillet and place 1/8 of the beef mixture on the tortilla. Add cheese to taste. I like lots of cheese in my enchiladas. Roll the enchilada and place in a glass backing dish that has already been coated with cooking spray. Repeat the process for the remaining 7 tortillas shells. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining chile sauce.

5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.

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Craving beef enchiladas with spicy red chili sauce? Click here

********

So do you want to know more about Chris and why she was eating at Francisco's. Well... you'll have to read the book to find out! Here's a blurb to whet your appetite!


All Chris Smith has left of her past are a jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and flashbacks—bits of memory—smells, sounds, fleeting feelings. Her life is in limbo, a living purgatory, until she meets Steve West, whose construction company is revamping the ski lifts at Purgatory just north of Durango, Colorado. When Brian Parker, the LaPlata County Sheriff, confronts Steve about his overt attention to Chris, Steve claims that Chris is Carol, his kidnapped and still missing wife.

As the story unravels, Chris’s past materializes from her shadowy memories to terrorize her in the form of her stepbrother Cory Powell. Cory holds her captive, believing that her twin sister Carol double-crossed him. Who married Steve? Chris or Carol? Did Chris steal Carol’s identity? Is she involved in kidnapping and murder? Are repressed memories of past crimes the source of her mental distress? Flashes of memory crash her psyche, one painful recollection stacked upon another. Now, her life depends on allowing Cory to believe that she is Carol while they search the wilderness north of Purgatory for the missing ransom money.

******

Purgatory is book #2 in my Colorado series. Hope you enjoyed the snippet. Chris' story is set for release in early 2014. In the meantime, check out my other published stories.













9.16.2013

#NewRelease #Debut #Review - Dangled Carat - Hilary Grossman

What does a woman do when her man is perfect in every way...except he has a little problem with commitment?




In this relatable, lighthearted, and playful memoir, Hilary reminisces about her life before Marc—from the insecure and awkward teenage years she spent in a back brace and dealing with the loss of her father, to her early relationships and, finally, to the day she met Marc and realized that she really wanted to see him again. Through their first date—even though Hilary was technically seeing someone else at the time—and the ease of their early time together until Marc first decided that they were moving too quickly, up until that fateful New Year’s Eve, Hilary shares the details of their relationship and how Marc’s inability to commit led her to find an inner strength and confidence she didn’t know she possessed.

For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home.

A link to the book's purchase page on Amazon can be found by clicking this link or by clicking on the book's cover above.

Disclosure: The author gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My take:

Hilary has an easy, flowing writing style that made reading her story a real pleasure. I often found myself smiling, laughing, crying, and getting mad right along with her. By the end of the book, I was rooting for this couple to make the marriage commitment (even though I was well aware of the ending). Marc seems like a wonderful man and Hilary seems like a very patient woman. Their story is real, not the figment of a novelist's imagination, which makes the telling even more priceless. Hilary adds such detail to every scene that I feel as if I'm right in the middle of their lives. A very brave and public way to express her love for Marc.


When she's not writing, Hilary Grossman is also the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer and lives on Long Island.

In connection with the release of her debut book, Hilary is sponsoring a Giveaway. To one lucky winner she will be giving away one signed copy of dangled carat, one CD (when you believe) by Sandi Rose, and a $25 gift certificate to Victoria Secret.


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9.07.2013

#WeWriWa #8Sunday #SnippetSunday 09.08.13

It's a Sunday thing...



Each Sunday, Weekend Writing Warriors hosts a fun new blog hop. If you would like to participate, link to the list at http://www.wewriwa.com/ and post eight sentences from a published or unpublished work to your blog on Sunday. Follow the same link on Sunday to read excerpts from other authors.


SNIPPET SUNDAY

Each Sunday, fellow writers on the Facebook page, Snippet Sunday, share excerpts from their work on their blogs. To read more follow this link, https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnippetSunday/461163367303186.




This week's eight comes from my recently released romantic suspense novel, The End. Here's the set up... Ellie's husband, Tab, a part-time writer, part-time cabbie, has been dead almost a year.


I’d put the idea of reading his final words aside, but then I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to read what he left behind.

When I opened the file, I expected to read something sentimental and just a little cheesy, something with a made-for-television happy ending. I expected to cry like a baby when I read his final words. Tab was the most dramatic man I’d ever met.

Instead, I became engrossed in a thriller that read so real I wondered if he had written a true story. All the plot needed was a realistic ending.


And the end came to me in the middle of the night.

Here's the blurb...

Sometimes the end is only the beginning...


Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.

Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.

Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.

***

I hope you enjoyed the eight and the blurb. The End is only 2.99, that's less than the cost of a gallon of gasoline. Less than a gallon of milk. Click on the book cover above for the purchase link.

9.04.2013

#NewRelease #5PP The End - Denise Moncrief

I'm a super excited because today is the launch of my new romantic suspense book The End.



The End can be purchased at the following links:


Here's the back cover copy...


Sometimes the end is only the beginning.

Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.

Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.

Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.

Excerpt of The End:

Tab’s Mac wobbled on the edge of the coffee table in front of me as my fingers tapped out the letters of the final sentence of the final scene as if they had a mind of their own. The idea for the ending had come to me in the middle of the night, and I was determined to finish the project before I forgot what I wanted to write. I hit return and then spaced down and typed The End with a flourish. I didn’t know if writers wrote that at the end of a manuscript, but I did it anyway.

I leaned back on the sofa. A smile should have formed, but it didn’t. I was pleased…but exhausted. The urge to finish Tab’s final project had been satisfied. How did he do this? The process had mutilated every one of my emotions.

He had put a lot of himself into his writing. I’d watched him, absorbed for hours on end, struggling to choose just the right word or just the right sentence structure. He’d tried for years to get an agent or a publisher to read one of his manuscripts. After numerous rejections, he’d send them to the virtual trash bin with an angry jab to the delete button. It appeared like a lot of wasted effort to me.

Thinking about Tab kicked me in the gut once again. He had been dead for almost a year, but his memory could still hit me hard when I least expected it. It’s true. You never get over losing someone you love the way I had loved him.

I was awake late one night the previous week watching Castle on a Netflix disk, when I decided it was time to read Tab’s unfinished masterpiece—well at least it would have been a masterpiece in his humble opinion—if he had discussed it with me. He never mentioned the project. I didn’t even know the manuscript existed until after the accident that took his life. If I hadn’t been searching the hard drive of his Mac for something else, I would have never known about it.

Odd. Tab wasn’t a secretive sort of guy. Was he?

So his unfinished manuscript had remained unread on the hard drive of his Mac for months. I’d put the idea of reading his final words aside, but then I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to read what he left behind.

When I opened the file, I expected to read something sentimental and just a little cheesy, something with a made-for-television happy ending. I expected to cry like a baby when I read his final words. Tab was the most dramatic man I’d ever met.

Instead, I became engrossed in a thriller that read so real I wondered if he had written a true story. All the plot needed was a realistic ending.

And the end came to me in the middle of the night.

It was done now. For better or for worse. I reached for my coffee mug and took a sip, then grimaced. The brew had gone stone cold. I rose from the sofa and slogged into the kitchen to refill my cup and stick it in the microwave. As I waited for the ready beep, the view outside my window captured my attention. A bare limb of an oak tree swayed, easily manipulated by the wind. The weather promised another gloomy, rainy day. I pulled my robe closer around me, but the chill of the morning pierced the terry cloth. I shuddered and headed for my bedroom.

My linens lay on my bed, twisted and tangled from tossing and turning. I had no desire to go to work. Finishing Tab’s masterpiece had drained my energy, and when I finally dragged my butt into the office, I would have to confront my boss. Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Leads would not be happy with my lack of progress on the Baxter case. Into my second year as an assistant district attorney, I was well aware I had missed my calling. My confidence in the criminal justice system had disappeared. My passion for convicting the right offender put me in constant conflict with a process that had morphed over the years into a system designed for speed rather than accuracy.

With no enthusiasm, I dressed for the day. I chose my best black suit because it matched my mood, but beneath it I wore a bright, cherry red blouse. My power outfit. I needed all the chutzpah I could manage to face Leads’ wrath. It was coming at me, like a hurricane hovering off the coast trying to decide which shore was most vulnerable.

After applying a few final touches to my makeup, I zipped a brush through my hair, made a pretense of brushing my teeth, and swished an ounce of mouthwash. I held my hand over my mouth. My breath still smelled of stale coffee. I looked into the mirror and groaned, then swiped at the toothpaste stain on my lapel with a damp rag before heading toward the living room. After a few minutes of panicked searching, I found my only pair of black heels under the sofa.
I was as ready for my confrontation with Leads as I was ever going to get. My briefcase leaned next to the front door where I’d dropped it the night before. I had planned to review some case files before I went to bed, but once I closed my apartment door behind me, nothing could have motivated me to open my briefcase last night.

The ride to the office was probably the longest of my career. Lights flashed through the windows as the train passed through another station. I held tight to a strap above me because all the seats were full, always a marker of how my day would go. I was running late, and there was no hope for me.

My mind drifted. Instead of mentally listing the things I needed to accomplish at work that day, I dwelt on how I should have chosen a different path for my life and what that path would have been. Had everything I suffered to work my way through college and then law school really been for nothing?


Hope you enjoyed the snippet!!!


And because I am super excited I'm giving away a $20 Gift Card to Amazon. How can I enter to win you ask? Well... there are several ways. First, you must comment on this post. Then, you can increase your chances of winning by following me on Facebook or Twitter. Or you can tweet about the release! It's that simple. No purchase necessary.


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9.02.2013

#CoverReveal #TWRP- Alone No More - Terri Rochenski



Alone No More
Novella / Historical Romance
Avail Format: ebook
'Official' Release Date: December 18, 2013
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:

Dismissed from her job as a scullery maid and cast aside by her lover, pregnant Cara Morland has no choice but to return to her father’s farm. While lies of widowhood keep her from disgrace, Cara is faced with a local landowner’s unwanted attentions. Without the social status to do much more than avoid the vile man, she loses hope of ever finding happiness.

A friendship based on mutual loneliness blossoms between Cara and James Elliot, a young farm hand hired by her father. He offers his protection, and one shared kiss reveals his heart, but propriety and her feigned grieving period hinders what they both desire.

When Cara’s stalker learns the truth of her circumstances, he gives her an ultimatum—submit to his possession or he’ll ruin her second chance at love with James.

Alone No More is available for early release with Amazon for only $1.99.  

Terri's bio:

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.


Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.

Terri can be found at the following sites:

9.01.2013

#NewRelease - Through the Glass - Lisa J Hobman



Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com  books@5princebooks.com
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: August 30, 2013

Blurb:

It was love at first sight for Jim.  Felicity was his dream girl.  Beautiful, intelligent and talented.  Sadly for Jim he didn’t quite meet with the approval of Felicity’s mother and eventually she succumbed to the pressure of her mother’s expectations.  Jim relocates from London to the Scottish Highlands to try to rebuild his life and mend his broken heart when an unexpected visitor brings painful memories and tragic news.  Jim has to fight with his own desires to make the right decision.  He lost Felicity once.  Can he survive losing her again? 



About Lisa J Hobman:

      Lisa is a happily married Mum of one with two crazy dogs.  She especially enjoys being creative; has worked as a singer and now runs her own little craft business where she makes hanging signs and decorations for the home. Lisa and her family recently relocated from Yorkshire, England to their beloved Scotland; a place of happy holidays and memories for them. 
     Writing has always been something Lisa has enjoyed, although in the past it has centered on poetry and song lyrics.  The story in her debut novel has been building in her mind for a long while but until the relocation, she never had the time to put it down in black and white; working full time as a High School Science Learning Mentor and studying swallowed up any spare time she had.  Making the move north of the border has given Lisa the opportunity to spread her wings and fulfill her dream.  Writing is now a deep passion and she has enjoyed every minute of working towards being published. Novels two and three are works in progress so watch this space!


How to contact Lisa J Hobman


EXCERPT :

Chapter 1

February 2009 - The Break-Up

“So, that’s it then, Flick?” Jim raised his arms in exasperation. “You’re leaving? You’ve completely given up?” He was past trying to convince Flick that they could make a go of it; work things out; get through this and come out the other side stronger. The past few months had been one argument after another and Flick had spent less and less time at home.

“It’s for the best, James. And please don’t call me Flick.” She sighed, “It’s not my name. Not anymore. I grew up. It’s good in the adult world you should visit sometime, you might like it.” She snorted derisively.

Jim shook his head; sadness oozing from every pore, “Aye, well you’ll always be Flick to me. And I’ll always be Jim. What’s with all this ‘Felicity and James’ bollocks anyway?” His accent always became stronger when he was angry. This was one of those occasions when the true Scotsman came out fighting. His chest heaved as he tried to calm the storm raging beneath his skin.

He almost didn’t recognise the woman standing before him in their bedroom; her fitted designer clothes complete with pearls and a shoulder length smooth sleek hairstyle. Such a contrast to the girl he fell in love with. Back then it was all flowing blonde waves and long, floating skirts. She was softer then; in every way.

“Well, as I said James, Felicity is my name…Flick was left behind at university. She was doe-eyed, foolish and rash…look, there’s no point us going over old ground,” she pulled the handle up on her wheeled suitcase, “I’ll be staying with Polly and Matt for a while whilst I figure out my next move.”
Matt had once been Jim’s closest friend but that friendship had somehow fizzled as his relationship with Polly had intensified. That saddened Jim.

Felicity went on, “Nilsson-Perkins have offered to help find me a new place near the city centre so I can be closer to the main gallery.” She wandered over to him and placed her hand on his arm. “It’s for the best, James. I think you know that deep down.”

He looked, pleadingly, into her eyes, his chest still rising and falling at a rapid rate. “For whom? For me?. I don’t think so.” His voice cracked as he shook his head; he stared intently and for several moments she seemed caught in his eyes. He thought he saw her shield begin to melt but she shook her head and looked away.

Turning back to him she shrugged her shoulders. “It was inevitable when you think about it. We’re from two different worlds…we want completely different things, James.” Her voice softened as she squeezed his arm. Her blue eyes, however, that were once full of love, were ice cold.

She wheeled her case toward the bedroom door and turned back to face him one last time. Her eyes were glassy with unshed tears now and Jim was relieved to see some, albeit small, expression of human emotion from the woman he had witnessed, slowly, becoming some kind of hard, Siberian robot.

“For what’s it’s worth…James…I do love you. You were my first love and so I probably always will. I just feel like…” she paused, clenching her eyes closed as if to find the strength to carry on speaking, a tear escaped. “Like maybe we’re not good for each other. We’ve grown apart. I’m ambitious and you…you want babies and the white picket fence thing…I’m just not ready…I’m not sure I ever will be. In a way I’m doing you a favour.” A sob escaped her throat as she spoke, “This way at least you get to meet someone new and have children and do all the family things that I’m just not capable of.” She sounded to Jim as though she was trying to convince herself.

Jim’s lower lip began to tremble. “I don’t want anyone else…it’s you. It’s always been you.” He clenched his jaw. “What I don’t get, Felicity, is that you wanted those things too. We were both on the same page. I don’t understand how we changed.”

“We didn’t change. I did. Like I said, I grew up.” She shook her head. “I know that you haven’t changed.” She snorted. “Sorry, Jim but it’s true. In all these years you’ve kept the same hairstyle, the same clothing and the same laid back attitude. You still work in the same second hand book store, you still drive that ancient Land Rover and you still take that bloody dog everywhere you go! You’re not a student anymore, James. Maybe I want more, huh? Maybe I want someone who makes an effort!” Her voice gained an octave as her emotions began to get the better of her.

Jim widened his eyes in horror. “Whoa! Now just hang on there, lassie!” He held up his hands and his stomach knotted at her stabbing words as they sliced at his heart.

He stepped toward her. “You can’t say that I don’t make effort. Just because I’m in no way materialistic doesn’t mean I don’t care. I love you. I always have. You are my world! I don’t need things, Felicity, I need you!” His heart ached as it bombarded the inside of his chest. “I’ve done everything in my power to make you happy. I don’t know what else I could have done. And for the record, I’m not the one who’s given up here!” He raised his voice too, finally giving in to the pent up frustration he’d been harbouring.

“James, we want different things, accept it. Move on…please!” She opened the door and he made a grab for her. She swung around and crashed into his arms. Without thinking he took her face in his hands and kissed her with all the passion he could muster. To his amazement she didn’t slap him; she kissed him back. Dropping her suitcase she seemed overwhelmed by desire, anger, passion, lust, whatever the hell it was; she grabbed at his dark, shaggy hair as he ran his hands through hers; desperate to express his love for her; desperate to make her change her mind.

He moved from her mouth to her neck, his kisses urgent. Her head rolled backward and she moaned, grabbing at his T-shirt and pulling it over his head in one swift aggressive move. Before either could realize what they were doing or how they got there, they staggered backward and tumbled, wrapped around each other, onto the bed; their lips locked as their tongues danced and probed each other’s mouths.
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