Tag Archives: #caszarek

The Scribblers at RT16 Vegas

It’s been a long week and I think some of us might be recovered. I thought it would be fun to share some photos of a few of the Scribblers who met up at RT16 in Las Vegas about a week ago. As always, time is too short when you’re having fun.

Watch for upcoming episodes (as soon as we all get caught up on deadlines) and of course, Enchanted Keepsakes!

2016-04-16 09.37.29Our very own Kishan Paul at the Giant Book Fair.

2016-04-16 17.20.48 Kishan Paul and Aubrey Wynne at the top floor of the Presidential Suite at the Rio.

2016-04-13 19.54.59 Valerie Twombly and roomie, Kishan Paul.

2016-04-14 09.56.11 Valerie Twombly at First Base with an Author, reader event.

13007104_10154059533378361_583836292906336054_n Group photo. Lena Hart, C.A. Szarek, Valerie Twombly, Kishan Paul & Aubrey Wynne.

13006514_556480401220514_2153752404816722194_n Valerie with cover model, Vikkas Bhardwaj and her newest release, Sultry Nights.

13007303_10154059547213361_242424788551382117_n Group photo. Angie Daniels, C.A. Szarek, Valerie Twombly, Aubrey Wynne & Kishan Paul.

13010637_557198784482009_3061971121271219790_n Valerie fangirling with Larissa Ione.

Ranger’s Reprieve, episode 1

By C.A. Szarek

 

 

A bullet whizzed by his head and he ducked. “Son of a bitch!”

“Jesus, Jess, are you hit?” Chuck breathed.

“No, but it’d be nice if you covered my six, dammit.”

The guy had the nerve to laugh, but he patted the side of his rifle, an MK-16. “Bertha got it.”

Too bad the laugh was obliterated by utter shock, and the red starburst on his friend’s forehead demanded all Jess’ attention.

His fellow Ranger gaped and keeled over. Blood spatter hit Jess’ face, and he hadn’t realized it. Then the yelling from the rest of their team started, and returning fire and—

“Dammit!” He popped up, panting. His bare torso was covered in sweat. Jess’ brow was too, if the dripping in his eyes was any indication.

Eyes…dammit. The instant vacancy in Chuck’s brown ones would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Freaking dreams. Well, his stupid therapist called them night terrors—like he was five years old. Scratch that, no kid should have to see what Jess had.

Problem was—where he’d come from, three tours of duty later—it’d happened. Seeing dead kids. Dead women. Innocents in a country ravaged by war. Been there. Done that. Add fodder for the nightmares. That’d just f’d him up even more.

Discharge after his own injury had made it worse. He was home. Too bad the desert felt more like it than the bungalow his great aunt had left him in podunkville west Texas. Damn good thing he had it, though. He hadn’t wanted to go home to Tallahassee. Just couldn’t. Pity in his family and friends’ eyes would’ve bothered him more than the supposed PTSD.

Jess opened and closed his prosthetic hand. He’d fallen asleep with it on again. What was left of his upper left arm —a few inches past his biceps—ached.

He threw his legs over the side of the bed and groaned. Unhooking his new arm only took a few seconds. After being kicked loose from physical therapy for almost six months, he was an old pro. He rolled his shoulder and winced.

Damn, that hurts. Tingles shot upward, but it felt good, too. Jess sighed and glanced at his cell. He pushed the button to light the thing up, and the time glared—03:26 hours.

Shit. Again.

Would he ever get a good night’s sleep?

Might as well shower, he was covered in sweat anyway.

Noise at the front of the small house made him tense and want to reach for a gun. Then there was thumping and a tumble that could be someone rooting around. Jess had a feeling he knew what it was, and sighed instead of getting his Glock.

Not. Again.

Cursing under his breath with enough variety to make his whole team of Rangers proud—not to mention a trucker or two—he padded out to the front door and whipped it open. Ran his gaze along as much of the wrap-around porch he could see in the dim light the lamp over the door threw out.

A whine snatched his attention to the three front steps.

Jess’ eyes darted to the blondish ball of fur at his feet. “You!”

The dog wagged her tail.

He ignored the big brown eyes and the adorable few pieces of fur that overhung one, partially obscuring it.

“You don’t live here,” Jess growled at the dog.

“Shelby!” The female voice startled him, but he did his best not to show it.

Show was the right word because when he glanced at the owner of said blonde mutt, he saw that his neighbor. Lindy, or Lindsey or something with an L, was barely dressed.

Her oversized tee had Princess Leia printed on it, and stopped mid-thigh. What a nice pair they were, muscular, as if she exercised by running after her stupid canine. The other pair—her breasts—was fantastic, too. They had a good bounce going on as she ascended the stairs to his porch. No bra, because he could see the outline of her nipples.

His neighbor’s long red hair was loose and messy, and dancing with her movements.

Jess had never noticed how hot she was before.

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Monroe,” she breathed and grabbed the small dog. “Bad, Shelby!”

The little furball wagged her tail.

She hiked Shelby to one hip, which made that shirt ride up.

He had to swallow and avert his gaze. Her underwear would be showing at any moment. Unless she wasn’t wearing any. Which would be better and worse.

“She cried and had to go out. Woke me up from a dead sleep. I let her out then she ran over—” His pretty neighbor’s eyes rose from her dog, but instead of landing on his face, they darted to where his left arm used to be. Stayed locked there, too.

“Just get your damn dog, and keep her away from my place,” Jess growled.

 

 

 

 

Days Of Auld Lang Syne, Episode 13

By C.A. Szarek 

Joanne stared for a second, then looked down at her dress. “I don’t ice skate,” she blurted, then averted her gaze from his beautiful dark eyes when awkwardness hit her smack in the chest, making her bob in her silver Louboutins.

Then she cursed at herself. Where was the comfort, the normal ease of the way he’d made her feel the other night? Get over yourself and get it together. You’re fine…with him.

Shawn laughed and the warmth of it washed over her, helped her to breathe. And relax.

“There’s more there than ice skating.” He extended a hand.

“Who’s at the door?” Someone called. Either Yana or Novia, from the young tone, but Joanne’s brain was too fried to distinguish it.

Crap. She hadn’t even invited him in, but didn’t want to either. Like a hundred of her meddling family was holed up at her place. Okay, so she was exaggerating, but still. They always poked their noses where it didn’t belong, and this…thing…with Shawn was too new.

“Umm, lemme grab my coat,” Joanne muttered, ignoring her little cousin. As if they didn’t know, anyway. Both girls had spent the previous several hours lounging on her bed as she’d gotten ready, yammering on about hot guys and basically planning their weddings—amongst the occasional dressing or dating tip. And, oh, her wedding, too. With Shawn, who’d been dubbed, “the hot guy from ice skating.”

To Shawn’s credit, he only nodded. Didn’t bat an eye at her lack of manners. He helped her into her puffy jacket that didn’t really go with her outfit, and was therefore against her fashion sense, but it was warm, and if he wanted to go to Rockefeller Center, she’d need to be warm first.

Joanne pulled the apartment door closed. “Sorry.” She winced. “My family is…overbearing.”

His smile made her heart beat faster. “It’s okay. I get it. It’s only our second date. Third if you count Starbucks.” Shawn winked.

She stilled. Date? It is, isn’t it?

Glancing up at him resulted in their gazes colliding and locking.

Shawn hadn’t told her he loved her again, but it was there, in those lovely maple eyes, every time he looked at her.

Am I okay with that?

Joanne had been thinking about those words—okay, obsessing—since he’d told her that day in the park. She’d examined the feelings she’d had for him five years ago. Were they still there? Was her crush just a crush or more?

More, of course. She’d always been a glutton for punishment. But in this case, did it have to go that way? The guy had said he loved her. If she didn’t actually love him—attaching the actual word made her want to fidget in her Louies—it was damn close to that.

Always had been.

She gulped. Sucked in a breath when he released her gaze only to entwine their fingers and lean down.

Shawn brushed his mouth against hers. He’d pulled away before she could process the much-too-short kiss.

“I’ve been wanting to do that since you opened the door.”

Joanne swallowed. “I’m okay with that.” And she was. But, she wanted more than just the surface lip-lock. Like he’d kissed her in the park.

She’d been obsessing about that, too.

He flashed those dimples. “I’m glad.”

“Do you want to do it again?”

Shawn paused, cocking his head to one side. Like he didn’t believe he’d heard her right. “Well, yes. Jojo, I thought I made it clear, I want you. I love you.”

There it was again. Those words that made her whole form flush hot.

She gathered all the courage she could and held it tight.

Joanne grinned and grabbed the collar of his tailored coat. At least her old friend-turned-new man had impeccable taste. “Then kiss me.” She didn’t care that she was in the hallway right outside her apartment. She should, because she did have a peephole, but if her family was that nosy, they’d just get a show.

He didn’t hesitate to pull her to him, and she went, wrapping her arms around him and meeting his mouth when Shawn dipped down to her again.

She opened for him, and desire—not fear at his closeness—spread slowly downward, warming her belly, her sex, her whole body. Shawn delved deeper and she met his seeking tongue with her own.

The kiss went on forever, their tongues dancing, dueling, fighting for the lead, but Joanne wasn’t bothered when Shawn won the battle.

Their bodies were melded, hips to hips, breasts to chest, but their stupid coats were in the way. They panted against each other, and she was overheated. Overdressed, too.

Joanne hadn’t been with a man since before the attack, but she wasn’t scared to take the next step—as long as Shawn was on board. As long as it was with him. Only him.

He broke the seal of mouths and rested his forehead against hers. “I don’t want to go to Rockefeller Center.”

“Oh?” Joanne whispered, but a thrill raced over her body. Through his dress pants, she could feel his erection; it was tucked neatly against her. A tremor shot down her spine, but it wasn’t dread—it was desire.

“I want to take you to my place. We can grab some champagne and watch the ball drop. On TV, instead of out in the cold. Would you be up for that?” The look in his brown eyes was a mix of hope and desire.

And love. So much love.

Her pulse pounded in her temples, but anticipation dominated her body.

Joanne would have to tell him what had happened last year before they went to bed. She didn’t think she’d freeze in his arms, but maybe the heads up would help them both.

“I mean, I don’t expect…I just want you. I mean, to spend the evening with you.” His cheeks went pink and for a second he was that hot, but geeky, guy from high school again. Shawn shifted in his shoes, staring her down.

Adorable.

“I do. Expect more of what we just started. A lot more. As long as we go slow.” She’d tell him why when they got to his place.

His gorgeous eyes went wide, but he nodded. Shawn got down on one knee and grabbed her hand.

Joanne gasped.

He grinned, his composure obviously back. Shawn was still adorable though. “Relax, I’m not proposing.” His dimples made her return his grin.

“What then?”

“Jojo, would you do me the honor of ringing in the New Year with me at my home? And maybe, we can make plans for the year. Significant plans. For us. Together.”

She beamed and squeezed his fingers. “I think I’d like that.”

Shawn shot to his feet and tugged her to him again. He kissed her as if the ball had already dropped.

 

The End!