Tag Archives: #LenaHart

A Mermaid’s Quest – Episode 5

By Lena Hart

 

Simon jerked back and studied the beautiful raven-haired siren. It wasn’t necessarily what she said but how she said it.

Why would they need to get along?

He slowly began to pull away from the woman, but something in her sea-green eyes stopped him. There was something about her that was hypnotic, making him forget his Ana and the memories that were still very much a part of him.

“It’ll be okay, Simon. This was all meant to happen.”

That odd declaration confused him more then ever.

“Tonight,” she explained. “Tonight was always meant to happen, Simon.”

So now she could read my mind too?

“Who the hell are you?”

“I told you. My name is Narissa. You don’t have to be afraid.”

“I’m not.”

She smiled in a way that told them both she knew he was lying. She took his cool hands into hers again, and the same warmth that had coursed through his body when she had kissed him spread through him. That tantalizing sensation made him forget who he was and what he’d done.

She made him forget a lot of things.

“I can feel your pain, Simon. It’s not your fault what happened to her. None of it was.”

“How can you say that,” he said through gritted teeth. “I was the experienced one. I should have known it was too dangerous to go out in the water. I should have tried harder to look for her.”

“You did everything you could that night.”

But he could have done more.

That single thought had plagued him for the last two years. His life had been a constant loop of wondering and second-guessing. It didn’t matter how many times his family and friends tried to reassure him, or how many cruises or trips they took to these private islands. Nothing could erase his mind of the doubt and what-ifs.

And nothing could erase the memory of the accusatory glares from Ana’s parents. He had no words to justify why he had taken their only daughter out on his boat during a tropical storm warning. Ana had fallen off of his boat and her life had been cut short because of him.

“Look at me, Simon.”

He stared down at her, this disheveled woman wearing only his sweatshirt. She was a stranger to him, and yet, he felt as if he’d known her forever.

“Do you trust me?”

For the life of him, he didn’t know why he agreed, but he couldn’t stop his head from bobbing up and down like an idiot. But with that slow awareness came a peace he hadn’t felt in a long time.

“Good, because I would never hurt you, Simon. You are my alteruid.”

“Your what?”

“My other…my mate.”

Her grip tightened around his hand as she slowly led him toward the boulder. The waves rolled and crashed against the dark rock, leaving a spray of white foam to cascade back into the black ocean bed. The stars above glowed brightly. The same brightness that had convinced him to take the woman he loved into his boat so he could propose to her. She should have been his partner…his mate.

Now she was gone.

“Where are you taking me?”

“To a new life. A happier one…”

Simon knew he had two choices. He could get as far away from this crazy temptress and back to his family…and his heartache.

Or he could succumb to his desire and follow this mysterious siren to the unknown—into the watery abyss that stretched before them…

 

 

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.

Accidental Witch, Episode 8

Episode Eight

By Lena Hart

 

Mary’s heart dropped at the sight of the dark shadows looming over the Pastry Bitch like menacing claws. They swooped down sharply, and she jumped out of her seat.

“Stop!”

The shadows instantly fell away like a black drape, disintegrating into dust. Stirling pulled her back down to her seat as a hush whisper began to travel through the crowd at her sudden outburst.

Mary ignored the curious gazes and rounded on her date. “Why did you do that?”

Stirling cocked a brow. “That was not me, love. That darkness manifested from you.”

What was he talking about? She didn’t have darkness in her. She was a good person—she just didn’t like to be walked all over. Or accused of doing something she hadn’t.

“How…”

“It appears you hold more power than you realize, Mary.” He smirked. “And you’re more vindictive than you think.”

She stared at him then down at her hands, incredulous. “You’re crazy if you’re saying what I think you’re saying…”

“And what is it that you think I’m saying?”

“That I’m a…witch?”

“A very unseasoned one, but you’ll learn.”

Mary’s heart began to race at what he’d just confirmed. Did she really contain that kind of magic in her?

“And once you grow into your own, you’ll find your path.”

“My path to what?”

“The dark or the light.”

“You mean I’m either going to be good or evil?”

“More or less.”

She shook her head. “I don’t want to be wicked, but I can’t let the Pastry Bitch get away with ruining my career.”

“You want revenge, then take it.”

“I want to have her hair fall out. I want ants to come pouring out of her chocolate soufflé. I don’t want to actually kill her.”

“You can do all of that and more, love.” Stirling leaned back in his seat and assessed her quietly. “But will any of that satisfy you?”

Yes.

Mary glanced at where the Pastry Bitch stood at the far end of the room, admiring her work as the attendants began to serve her popular dessert to the guests. Mary should have been standing there, too. She’d put in just as much work into this function to make it a success, and that moment of glory had been taken from her.

But looking around the room, it was hard not to let the delight from the guests lift her spirits. She may not get the acknowledgement for it, but she would take pleasure in knowing that she’d been a part of putting those smiles on these people’s faces.

Mary sighed in resignation. To hell with the Pastry Bitch. She would let karma take this one.

“If I have to be a witch,” Mary murmured, “I prefer not to be a green one.”

Stirling chuckled. “I can see you’ve watched too many movies. Witches are actually quite attractive.” He winked at her. “Exceptionally so.”

Mary’s eyes widened. “You’re a—” She didn’t bother completing the sentence. Of course he was a witch. He’d practically told on himself with his impossible good looks—and that blood pen he kept in his pocket. “So are you a good witch or a bad one?”

“What do you think?” he asked, taking a sip of his champagne.

Mary tilted her head to the side. “I don’t know. I have a feeling you’re only good when it suits you…”

“You’re very perceptive. That’s a useful trait to have with your kind of power.”

“Can you teach me to be a good witch?”

He carefully placed his glass down then lovingly ran the pad of his thumb over her cheek. She trembled from the delicate touch.

“I can teach you a lot of things, love. And I plan to. But goodness is as innate as it is subjective. Goodness is having the power to steal every soul in this room but choosing not to.”

She stared at him blankly. “You can do that? Steal souls?”

“Yes.” His dark eyes flashed brilliantly. He leaned down and lightly brushed his lips across hers. “But I’d rather steal your heart.”

As he deepened the kiss, Mary lost herself in his embrace. In that moment, she forgot about everything—and everyone—and concentrated only on Stirling Drake and the sensuous spell he casted with his lips.

The End!

Days Of Auld Lang Syne, Episode 1

By Lena Hart

Ay dios mio. Novia, be careful!” Joanne Vega watched as her twelve-year old cousin attempted to do a twirl on the crowded ice rink, the blade of her rented skates coming too close to the back of her own sister’s legs. “Yana, will you watch her?”

Both of her young cousins continued around the ice rink, giggling, laughing, and ignoring her shouted warning. Joanne frowned and kept a vigilant eye on them through the crowd of skaters. Though she was born and raised in New York City, she had never spent her holiday in a tourist trap like the Rink at Rockefeller Center. But it was Christmas, and her mom’s side of the family was visiting from Puerto Rico. Joanne didn’t want to steal her cousins’ fun, but this was their first time skating on ice, and as the oldest, it was her responsibility to make sure they returned home in one piece. Since she couldn’t ice skate, she was reduced to worrying and scolding from the sidelines.

Their parents had decided to stay up in Harlem, not willing to make the trip downtown or take their chances with the weather. So far, despite reports for heavy snow, they had only gotten a few flurries. Because of that, the Rink was packed with people. Joanne looked past the throng of skaters and trained her camera phone on her cousins’ bright purple and pink coats. Her aunt and uncle would love to see their daughters’ first ice skating experience. With the large Rockefeller tree glowing in the background, it was a pretty magnificent sight.

Joanne tilted her camera lower and followed her cousins around the large rink. Though she had a pile of clips to edit for her fashion and beauty video blog, Joanne was happy for the distraction and to be showing her cousins a good time around her city. Lately, her life was consumed by either her day job or her vlog, which left little room for anything else. Her social life had seen better days, and though she had managed to spend some time with her bestie, they were both too busy for much else besides church and brunch. With her family in town, Joanne could use an excuse to go out and “play”—even if it meant chaperoning her tween cousins who were trying to give her premature grays at twenty-three.

Joanne was so focused on getting clear video of her cousins, she completely missed the tall male figure that came up beside her.

“Jojo?”

Joanne froze then turned to the familiar deep voice and her mouth almost gaped open. OMG. It couldn’t be…

“Shawn?”

She didn’t have to ask. Only one man had ever called her by that very old nickname, and she would have recognized those sexy, maple brown eyes anywhere.

Shawn Davis.

Her old classmate—her old high school crush. He was the one guy no others had ever lived up to. The one she had tried but failed to forget these past five years. The one she had yearned for more than just friendship with…

Longing fluttered in her stomach as she stared at him—wishing she had done more with her long, curly hair then pile it on top of her head in a messy bun. She suddenly felt like the shy, awkward girl back in high school again.

When Joanne didn’t move or say anything quick enough, Shawn held out his arms. His dark, handsome face broke into a crooked smile. “We can continue this staring match, Jojo… Or you can give me a hug.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exes and Ohhs: A Thanksgiving Romance

Episode Seven

By Valerie Twombly

Sugar stormed across the parking lot, searing tears streaming down her face. If that wasn’t enough, Mr. Tough Cop was hot on her heels.

“Sugar! What the hell did he mean by his daughter?”

She spun to face him, all fury and flame. “How many ways do I need to spell it out? Leave. Me. Alone! I’m not interested in dating you.” With a sigh, she added in a softer tone, “I’ve got enough damn trouble as it is.” She whirled, walked back through the door, and headed straight for the storeroom. She was a wreck of emotions. A ball of guilt filled her for not telling him he had a daughter. Then anger boiled just under the surface like the sun about to erupt. After all, he had left her and then made it perfectly clear he didn’t love her. Then there was her heart. How many lives did it have left? Broken to pieces when he’d deployed, fractured when he cut off communication, and today? Today it had shattered into a million fragments when she’d seen him again.

Damn it all to hell and back.

She still loved him. Heart, body, and soul.

“Sugar!” Her sister entered the room as pissed as a cat in a back alley fight.

“I know.” She pulled a tissue from her apron and blew, pushed her curls out of her face, and straightened her shoulders. “Sorry, I’ll be out in a sec.”

“Listen. I know your heart’s breaking, but you need to do what’s best for Sophie. That man has a right to know his daughter and she, her father.” Her eyes softened. “Give him a chance, Sugar. War is hell, and something tells me deep down he still loves you. Always has.”

Before she could reply, her sibling vanished back into the sea of customers. Her sister was right. Sugar owed her daughter. Her heart said to give him a chance. Her body begged her to slip into his arms and forget the last three years had ever happened. Her mind however, said to pack up and run. She closed her eyes and inhaled. After the rush was over, she’d head to their favorite spot. Something told her she’d find him walking the lake. As she exited out the door and into the breakfast crowd, she knew it was the right decision. She only hoped her heart didn’t stop beating completely.

As she slid by Beau, he gave her a wink. “Things will work out. They always do.”

She smiled. “Thanks, cuz.”

Her sister looked up from her note pad and gave a nod of approval. “You cut outa here in thirty. I’ll handle the rest.”

Then it was settled. In less than an hour, she’d likely make a fool of herself, but she’d sleep with a rattlesnake to ensure her daughter’s happiness.

 

 

Episode Eight

By Lena Hart

It took Sugar longer then she anticipated to leave the busy diner. As the breakfast rush began to die down, she jumped into her mother’s old station wagon, zipped through their small, beloved town of Hartsville, and headed straight toward Kissmee Lake. She hadn’t been down to their old spot in three years. Not since their last night together, when they had shared the most explosive moment of her life—and had created their daughter.

Sugar made it to the lake in time to see Jax sitting in his truck. The back lights glowed as he began to pull out of his parking spot.

Was he leaving?

For good?

The thought of not setting things right between them, of never seeing him again, sent her into a panic. Sugar whipped her station wagon alongside his. She barely had the key out of the ignition before she jumped out of the car and ran to his truck.

“Jax, wait!

Jax hit the breaks, a sort of stunned confusion on his handsome face. Sugar ran to the passenger side and climbed into the tall truck. He put the truck back into park and cut the engine.

“Sugar, what the hell? I could’ve hit you.”

She smiled at him, not at all bothered by his ferocious frown. She knew him and knew he only got that look when he was scared. “No, you wouldn’t have. You would never hurt me.”

His expression softened. “No, I wouldn’t.”

“Then why did you stop writing me?” Sugar hadn’t meant to blurt out those words, but his sudden cut of communication had torn her heart apart. She knew this moment wasn’t about her. It was for Sophie and having her daughter know her father, but Sugar was still hurt by his callous abandonment and needed to get the words off her chest. She glanced down at her hands and exhaled. “I know why you had to leave, Jax. I hated it, but I know you, and I know you could never turn your back on your responsibilities. But me? I never imagined you would turn your back on me.”

Her voice caught and Sugar kept her gaze averted as silence stretched between them. Suddenly, he opened the glove compartment and pulled out a small bundle of letters in varying degrees of wear. Without a word, he handed her the stack. Sugar stared down at them curiously before gingerly pulling them from his grasp.

“What are these?”

“My final letters to you.”

Sugar’s eyes snapped up to his. She knew what he meant by that. In that moment, the possibility that he would not be sitting next to her in his old pick-up truck, where they had share so many fiery moments, became a stark reality.

“Oh, Jax.”

He reached out and brushed the single tear that escaped from her lids. “Don’t cry, sweetheart. The last thing I ever wanted to do was cut you out of my life. But I couldn’t stand the thought of what my death might do to you. I didn’t want to put you through that kind of pain so I thought I could help you forget me. But I was a fool and caused us both unnecessary pain.” He nodded toward the letters in her hands. “I wrote you every chance I got after your last email. It was the only thing that kept me sane out there.” He paused then said gutturally, “No matter how much I tried, Sugar, I could never let you go.”

Tears brimmed her eyes as a series of emotions reeled through her, but she blinked them away. Glancing down at the letters, she flipped through each one, losing count after thirty. On the face of each letter was her name in his bold handwriting with exes and ohhs scribbled underneath. A quavering smile tugged at her lips. It was the same way she had signed off all her emails to him.

“Jax… I—”

Her words were cut short when a police cruiser pulled up behind his truck, flashing its bright red and blue lights. From the outline of the figure inside, Sugar could make out Officer Milhouse’s stocky frame.

 

 

Episode Nine

By Chanta Rand

Jax hopped out of his truck, ready for battle. He’d had enough of this dude’s shit. He’d met plenty of guys like Milhouse overseas—all bluster and no balls. The only reason he got away with his intimidating behavior was because he was a big bully in a small town.

Jax knew all about taking down bullies. He’d done plenty of that for the last three years. He’d even had nightmares about it. One more bad dream wouldn’t matter. In fact, it’d be worth it to put a hurtin’ on this fool that he’d never forget.

One scuff-toed boot foot followed the other as Milhouse exited the cruiser. He stood, legs bowed like a wishbone. Son-of-a-bitch acted like he owned the world. A grim line occupied the place where his mouth should have been. Steel eyes shaded by the crisp brim of his cowboy hat bored into Jax.

The two stood face to face. Millhouse puffed his chest out. “Listen, buddy. You can’t just skip into my town trying to lay claim to something that’s clearly not yours.”

“Your town?”

“You heard me. Now, why don’t you slink back in your truck and get the hell out of here before I send you home with your tail between your legs?”

Jax tensed. “You think just because you’re wearing that tarnished badge I won’t kick your ass?”

Milhouse snatched the gold-tone metal from his lapel and flung it to the ground. “Badge is gone now, punk.” Then he unfastened his gun belt. It slid to the grass and landed with a soft thud on the grass. “It’s just you and me. Man to man. You sure you wanna tangle with—?”

Jax punched him square on the jaw. Milhouse’s head snapped back and then he fell forward, landing flat on his face on the carpet of grass. It was over before it began.

Jax’s warrior instinct kicked in. He stalked over to the cop’s unconscious body and used his foot to shove him onto his back. “Just like I thought. All talk.”

Sugar rushed forward. “Oh, my God! Is he dead?”

“No. But when he wakes up, he’ll wish he was.”

“Jax…” Sugar’s hand clasped his, her slender fingers lacing with his calloused ones. “Let’s just go, please,” she begged. “You can get in a lot of trouble for this.”

He shook his head, keeping his gaze pinned on Milhouse. “I defended my country. I can damn sure defend the woman I love.”

“You can’t just assault a—wait. You love me?”

He faced her, his heart wrenching at the flickers of hope dancing across her blue irises. Lord, she was beautiful. Beautiful and perfect and everything he wanted in a woman. In that moment, he knew he’d do anything to protect her, and the child he believed was his.

“Yes, I love you, Sugar Dennison. I think I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you.” He brought her hand to his lips and pressed a tender kiss on her knuckles. “The whole time I was away, I prayed I’d get back to you. I went to bed thinking of you. I woke up wondering about you. Now that you’re standing before me in the flesh, I’m never gonna let anything separate us again.”

A single tear slid down her smooth cheek. “I thought you’d forgotten me.”

“Never.”

Her lips parted, begging to be kissed. He’d dreamed of those lips. Fantasized about her curvaceous body. Plotted what he would do if he ever saw her again. The memory of her had sustained him like water to a man in the desert. He leaned in, ready to show her just how much he’d missed her.

The sharp blast of a car horn waylaid his plans. Tires crunched gravel as a brown and white station wagon pulled into the parking lot. A face he recognized peered through the driver’s side window.

“Hey Mama,” Sugar called.

Mrs. Dennison’s shocked gaze flitted from Sugar to him. “Jax? Jax Brandon is that you?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She stared at the lifeless figure on the ground. Jax knew he probably looked like Captain Morgan on steroids. Knee bent, sneaker firmly planted atop Milhouse’s sternum.

“Good Lord! What is your foot doing on that cop’s chest?”

Before he could answer, a beautiful, cherub-faced little girl with dark, bouncy curls caught his attention. She stared wide-eyed out of the back window. She took one look at him and then her little lips scrunched into a frown.

“Aw, shit,” he muttered.

“Hey,” Sugar elbowed him. “Watch your language in front of my mom—and my daughter.”