Deadly Ever After

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Be My Valentine!

Today’s Brew: Caramel Hot Cocoa. Because it’s a special day. Hallmark SAYS SO.

by Kristen

I was at work, bored out of my mind listening to people rave about a new platform to sell investment banking, and I came up with a brilliant idea.  See? Good stuff can come out of sitting in a cubicle.

I decided to ask some of my author friends what their main couples would get each other for Valentine’s Day.

I think Mr. Jacob Farrish would whisk Lady Eleanore Barnaby off for a few days to Bath or Cornwall, to spend time alone. He’s a busy barrister! 😉 She would most likely give him a set of new law books, and a more…um, PRIVATE present later.
–Olivia Kelly, The Heart of a Duke

Corbin would get Mara a new bow and Mara would get Corbin a silver shield. Lol.  Not as fun in the middle ages.
–Tammy Farrell, The Darkness of Light

Beau would get Jack something sarcastic. A slogan tee with ‘If I were chocolate, I’d eat myself‘ written across the front. Or maybe, ‘James Bond 2.0‘  Jack would get Beau a limited edition Yoda doll to replace the one that was broken during the chaos. Or, all things considered, he may get her one of those squidgy stress balls with his face printed on it…
–Louise D. Gornall, In Stone
For their first Valentine’s Day together (if they make it that far, because you’ve got to remember a. They got together two months before graduation and we all know how that usually works out, and b. Tash is kind of an emotional land mine), Grant would most-likely spend weeks stressing over what to get Tash and then eventually ask his mom for guidance. She would tell Grant to get Tash a sweater or something, and Tash would hate it. Tash, on the other hand, would probably be so uncomfortable about the mere thought of taking part in Valentine’s Day that she’d attempt to lighten the mood with some kind of gag gift, and Grant would be horrified because he’d wonder if deep down Tash secretly believes that he would be caught dead wearing a “Female Body Inspector” T-shirt. After a few moments of extremely creative cursing (on Tash’s part) and painful politeness while inwardly violent self-kicking (on Grant’s part), they’d both admit how socially awkward they are and have a good laugh about it together. And then they would make out. The end.
–Isobel Irons, Promiscuous

Abel will give Brandon a customized heart-shaped guitar pick stamped with I PICK YOU, plus a hoodie with the Castaway Planet logo. His valentine card will be very large and festooned with smooching robots, and it will play a tinny “Let’s Get It On” when opened. Brandon will give Abel a limited-edition Captain James P. Cadmus action figure and a giant tin of cinnamon jelly beans, because cinnamon jelly beans will remind him of their road trip always and forever. Also, his construction-paper valentine will look handmade by a monkey with extra thumbs, but Abel will put it under his pillow anyway.
–J.C. Lillis, How to Repair a Mechanical Heart

Tavis would create a special corner in the hedge maze at the Imperial Palace for Faylanna, one with some of her favorite plants from the Gardensia Exotica planted there. It would be secluded, so she could have time to herself if she wanted, or with just Faylanna, Tavis, and their daughter.  Faylanna would secretly arrange with Tavis’ steward to clear several days of commitments and tell him to spend the time any way he wanted, so long as it had nothing to do with being the Crown Prince. They’d end up leaving the city, taking no one but themselves for the week.
–J. Elizabeth Hill, The Nine
 Cerise would give William a doctor costume and he’d go rent a wing of some hospital.
Torren has always loved literature and spent a lot of his free time reading, so as a romantic gift, Lilly would get Torren something book-related, such as an autographed first edition of a book he adores or a new book he hasn’t read yet but which she knows he’ll love. Torren’s romantic gesture for Lilly, on the other hand, would lean toward the experiential rather than the material. He would plan a romantic date and not tell her where they were going. Something super special like showing her a spectacular view she’s never seen before or taking her to a production of Turandot, which was the opera they saw on their first date together and which captivated her and stirred her emotions.
–Jeanie Grey, Awakening 2
Eliza would get Nicholas something ridiculous and so wrong it was right like a plant stand. Nicholas would get Eliza a crazy amount of food, not fancy especially but a lot. Like lobster and stuff. And an onyx necklance. He’d say it was pretty and deathy like her.
–Julie Hutchings, Running Home
Tristan would get Callie an antique sewing machine and some really pretty fabrics, like crushed velvet with a funky dye to it, because she’s been sad she hasn’t been able to make anything since she’s been in Vegas.  Callie would get Tristan a journal, a leather one with a cool cutout pattern for his songs. Then one of them would say something to ruin the whole thing, but they’d make up and have a great night.
–Kristen Strassel, Because the Night

Talking Vampires With Jeanie Grey

TODAY’S BREW: All the goddamn coffee my heart can handle.

By Julie

Jeanie Grey was one of the first writers we met on Twitter.  She’s stopped by Deadly Ever After before.  Her Lilly Frank series has certain fanged supernatural creatures in it, so this was the perfect time to ask her about vampires, and introduce you to her new book, Awakening 2.  Hungry for more?  Visit her blog.

Awakening 2~Small Jeanie Grey Deadly Ever After Interview

Julie: Why vampires in your work? Are you a classic or new-fangled vampire fan?
Jeanie: New-fangled in the sense that I don’t ascribe to the vampires-as-monsters-devoid-of-humanity mythologies. But I’m anti-sparkle. Not anti-Twilight (I loved those books), just anti-sparkle
 Julie: Would you want to be a vampire if given the choice?
Jeanie: You know, it’s interesting. I’ve wanted to be a vampire since I was a teenager. There are so many things I want to do and see, one lifetime is not enough for me. And I’m also attracted to the idea of being faster, stronger, having less to fear. (You can see this part of me reflected in Lilly in the excerpt from Awakening 2 that’s in this post.) But Lilly and Torren have been teaching me that, even if you can go out in daylight and don’t have to kill people to survive, being a vampire is actually really damned hard. So now I’m not so sure whether I’d want to be one.
Julie: Tell us about your writing process. What do you need to have, what throws you off? Is there a place in particular you like to write?
Jeanie: Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy for me to get thrown off or psych myself out and get writer’s block, so I try to create a physical and emotional environment for myself that feels safe, comfortable and relatively free from pressure to perform. The best place for me to write is in bed. I think it’s because I’m familiar with my room and there are fewer distractions, but also because it’s a comfortable and safe place, which is essential for letting my Muse take over. I also like to write while listening to music through headphones, usually something without lyrics. It helps drown out whatever other distractions may be around, e.g. a housemate, noise from neighbors, my dog staring at me. Little-known fact: I wrote most of Awakening and Awakening 2 while listening to “The Planets, Op. 32: Neptune” on repeat.

Julie: Travel is important to you. How does it affect your writing?

Jeanie: I LOVE TO TRAVEL. I actually started writing The Lilly Frank series while I was in Madrid, Spain (though the book looked very different then). You might think that I’ve been to Italy, since that’s where Awakening 2 takes place, but sadly I have not. Not yet, anyway. Nor have I spent much time in NYC, where Book 1 takes place. Lilly and Torren’s story has been challenging me, for sure. (And thank God for Google maps and travel websites to give me a sense of these places!) But to answer your question more directly: I’m not sure how travel has affected my writing. It’s a good question. I do know that my longer-term plan is to use research for books as a legit excuse to do more traveling and write some of it off as a business expense. 😉
5. Tell us the coolest thing you’ve ever done.
Hm. I don’t really think of the things I do as being “cool.” I don’t have that perception of myself. I know that other people think it’s cool that I lived abroad for a year, that I quit my job to pursue my dream of being a writer, and that I’ve self-published two vampire romance novellas. Do those count?
Synopsis of Awakening 2
A newly made vampire requires a certain amount of time to get used to her new body and heightened senses. But Torren’s worried that if Lilly doesn’t hurry up, she’ll be dead before she ever gets the chance to adjust to life as a vampire.

Word among vampires is that someone’s hunting their kind, and it’s not a quick death if you’re caught. This killer likes to torture the victims first, and all signs indicate that he or she is circling ever-closer to Torren and Lilly.

Torren needs Lilly to stop fighting him and start trusting him. Maybe he shouldn’t have deceived her…
Exclusive excerpt
She stretched out alongside him in the bed and rested her head in the cradle of his shoulder. They lay still together for many minutes, and he listened to her breathing, to her heartbeat. Felt her skin against his. His neck wounds had healed almost as soon as she’d stopped sucking, but the skin there tingled, remembering her touch. He could not imagine a more perfect moment than this one.
“What are we going to do?” Lilly asked, her fingers tracing slow, light circles on his chest. “Later, I mean.”
“Later tonight?”
“No, I mean…after I’ve adjusted. Are we staying here? Should I start to think about eternity in this castle? Or is this just a stopping place on the way to somewhere else?”
“We can do whatever you want,” Torren said. It excited him to hear Lilly say “we” when talking about the future. It meant she didn’t imagine leaving him. “We can go wherever you want. What do you want to do? We have all the time in the world.”
“But what about money? Do we have all the money in the world?”
“I’ve been around for a very long time, Lilly. We have more money than we could spend, and it’s only going to accumulate. So no need to worry about being limited by funds.”
Lilly paused, considering. He looked down through his lashes at her. She was worrying her lower lip between her teeth—a habit left over from her human days—but stopped when she realized she’d drawn blood. The smell of it called to him. Her pink tongue emerged to lick the blood off her lower lip, then retreated again. She seemed oblivious to his arousal.
“All the time in the world, unlimited financial resources, and a body that’s super strong and resilient.”
“Yes,” Torren said it to bring his mind back to the conversation, even though he was fairly certain she needed no answer.
“We could climb Mt. Everest to the very top?”
“Without bringing oxygen tanks?”
“I’ve never attempted it, but I think our bodies could endure it.”
“We could wade into the interior of Papua New Guinea, where no one has ever been before?”
“No human, anyway. And yes.”
“We could roam the wilds of Australia, wrestling alligators and not needing to fear poisonous snakes or spiders?”
“We could still get bitten, and it would hurt, but so long as a crocodile doesn’t take our heads off, we’d be fine.”
Lilly’s eyes seemed brighter as she continued to consider the possibilities.
“We could spend an entire year reading every book I’ve ever meant to read?”
Torren laughed softly. “Yes, we could spend a year reading. We could spend a hundred years reading and still have time for everything else.”
“Could we travel to every continent—no, every country—and spend time learning all the languages and tasting the food?”
Torren sobered a little at the mention of food. She hadn’t yet discovered that human food wasn’t as pleasurable an experience as it might have been when she was human. “Yes,” he said finally. “And you might find that you pick up languages more quickly than you did as a human. Though I’m not sure you’d like food very much now.” It was the best way he could think to put it for now.
“Oh, I don’t care about that,” she said, raising her head for a moment to look into his eyes. “It’s just for the experience.”

Turning Point by Jeanie Grey

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate cherry medium roast. Mmmmmm.

Now here’s a story to strip by if there ever was one by the delightful Jeanie Grey. Follow her on twitter @jeaniegrey.  Get ready to sizzle.

Turning Point

by Jeanie Grey

The next day she gets little hot flashes every time she thinks about him.

The day after that, she finds herself trying not to Facebook-stalk him, settling instead for re-reading for the hundredth time the messages he’d sent her. They turn out to be less fitting material for fantasy than she would like.

She finds herself humming “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc: I’m not in love. So don’t forget it. It’s just a silly phase I’m going through.

“I didn’t know if I’d ever get you here,” he’d said. She was straddling his lap on the futon in the downstairs office of his house. His wife and kids upstairs.

Earlier they’d sat side-by-side at the bar, kicking around the idea of going somewhere to play pool, but she couldn’t think straight. Had been in a near-constant state of arousal for the last several days. Finally she just said it: “What I’d really like to do is go somewhere and make out. How would you feel about that?”

He liked that idea. Suggested the Gold Dust Meridian for its high-backed booths that shielded patrons from casual on-lookers.

She said it wouldn’t be enough privacy for what she had in mind: a certain amount of groping and possible clothing removal.

He texted his wife to see if it was cool to bring her home. The wife said yes.

They kept their jeans on but took off their tops. He blew air along her spine and she jumped. His hands were warm and large and patient as they moved over her back. Pressed gently into her flesh. After a few minutes his energy shifted. He gave up on the massage. Licked the almond oil from her back; brought his head down close to hers so all she had to do was turn her face toward him and arch her back a little, and their tongues could collide and tangle.

He moaned and panted. Inhaled sharply. Bit his lower lip or pressed his lips together. Smelled clean. Got excited and exclaimed “Fuck!” A surprised half-smile on his lips. Said he liked the way she touched him. Liked it when she bit and sucked on his nipples. Licked the corner of his mouth. Sucked his earlobes.

He said he’d been thinking about her pussy for weeks. Wanted her clit in his mouth. She felt faint at the suggestion, desire so intense. She’d soaked her underwear clear through. Her hand in his jeans. The head of his penis felt disproportionately large to his shaft. His penis seemed a good length. She wondered how it would feel inside her.

Their bodies seemed to like each other immensely.

At one point he said her name and she couldn’t believe how sexy it sounded coming from his mouth, his chest bare, his penis hard, his cheeks flushed with desire. His face was beautiful. She hadn’t noticed before.

She put her bra and shirt and sweater back on. He pressed against her backside. She leaned back into him and ground her ass against his crotch, then protested that she was trying to behave herself. He walked her to the door. Got his coat and put on his shoes. He did something magical with his shoelaces: tied them without seeming to tie them. Later she’d reflect on the trick with renewed awe, would come to think of him as a magical being. Like a unicorn.

Rolling around in her head for a couple weeks, since their last real date: If I thought for one moment that I was falling in love with you, I’d say good-bye and never see you again.

Even she recognized it as a sign that she was beginning to lose her conviction.

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