Category Archives: Writing

Anything relating to my writing, including storyline ramblings, finding an agent, submitting, etc.

Massive Birthday Thanks!

Thank you all so much for those who attended my Facebook Birthday Party!

There were so many giveaways and prizes, not just from me but also from other great authors who love a party!spectacseptauthors

Special thanks to the participating authors, CA Szarek, JM Walker, Anne Conley, Marie Skye, Tanya Sands, Krystal Shannan, Marsha West, Jerrie Alexander, Kimberly Packard, Angi Morgan, Roni Loren, and CM Doporto. You are all rockstars!

And major congrats to all the winners of those sweet contests! Several of them made out with multiple prizes!

I feel so blessed, so loved, and EXCITED!

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I have recently signed a contract to rerelease AUDREY’S PROMISE with another publisher, and this should hopefully be released no later than the end of October. I’ve been pouring over images, models, backgrounds all trying to find that perfect picture for the cover. I’ve revamped a lot of it and changed a few things. You will not want to miss the new edition!

As soon as I have an official release date I will share it. I will also host a cover reveal party on my page as well. So please keep checking back on my website! Or you could always sign up for my newsletter, and receive those updates personally! *wink wink

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Shortly after that, the ROYALS OF SOLANA series will be released one novel at a time, but in quick succession. This one is so steamy and more intense than the first editions, you’ll need to turn on the fan in every room when you read it!

So many exciting things going on! I can’t wait to share them with you!

Until then, have a fabulous rest of September, and keep reading!

gatsbycheers

 

Superheroes Have Invaded My Home: Today’s Reality of Heroes

HulksSuperheroes have invaded my home. Between my 7-year-old son with Autism, and my 2-year-old who loves anything his brother loves, the Avengers have overtaken our house as their new stronghold. My son refers to his bed as the Heli-carrier, a staging point for the fierce battles that Iron Man, the Hulk, and Captain America wage over their enemies. Whether it be with the action figures Santa gave him for LegoIronManChristmas, the figurines he’s made out of Legos or Play-doh, or the paper ‘dolls’ he drew and cut out himself, my living room is a perpetual battlefield. Not to mention, a minefield of Legos (try stepping on one of those in the middle of the night!)

My son loves the idea of heroes. The good guys triumphant over bad guys. Because good always wins over evil. He aspires to save the day, both in his Xbox game and in the world around him. His imagination is vivid, all-encompassing, and beautiful. He wants to be liked, and loved for good deeds.

IronManHelmentThis daily immersion in the likes of superheroes got me thinking about the heroes in romance novels. Do the heroes in these novels want to be liked, and loved for their good deeds as well? Or are they the kind of men who merely want to live their own lives, but they’ve been thrust into a challenge they can’t avoid, and must do what they can?

At what point do little boys stop wanting to be heroes? Or does that desire fade at all? Deep down, do all men want to be that kind of superhero? Do they secretly put on their Batman capes when no one is

watching? Or listen to the Superman theme song as they drive to work. (Yes I know, I’ve mixed up Marvel heroes with DC Comics, but you get my point).

Much like William Shakespeare’s quote:

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Much of the historical heroes I’ve read are those who were ‘born great,’ Lords of their family lands and leaders of armies. A few have ‘achieved greatness’ by overcoming their humble beginnings and growing into legendary soldiers. A lot perf5.000x8.000.inddof the contemporary stories I’ve read have been about those that have ‘greatness thrust upon them.’ At least, that’s what the hero in my latest novel, Jewel of Solana was like. Flynn didn’t strive for greatness, or to be the hero. But when chaos crossed his path in the form of Princess Alanna running from evil, he did what he could to find his way back to a normal life, only to realize that life no longer existed. The damsel in distress needed help, and he accepted the challenge of being the hero to save her.

Of course, reality is never that simple, or straightforward.

HulkHeroes lose all the time. Damsels save themselves, more often than are saved by others. Little boys grow out of their capes and Iron Man costumes. It’s a sad reality. But I still think there are plenty of heroes out there, in their own small gestures. The good samaritans, the nurses, the teachers…the mothers and fathers who work tirelessly to raise the next generation of heroes.

But for now, I’ll continue to watch my boys playing the superheroes our world lacks. I like the idea of super strength, and a laser beam from my palm.🙂

What kind of heroes do you like reading most? The born heroes, the ones who seek greatness,  or those that have greatness thrust upon them?

 

*This post originally appeared on Smart Girls Read Romance on 6/10/16

Now Freelance Editing!

Officially announcing I am now a freelance editor!

Courtesy Tom Smarch Photography

Courtesy Tom Smarch Photography

If anyone is looking for an editor for their novels, short stories, or novellas, please consider my services.

Contact me for rates and specific services.

I registered on Outsource.

For those who are unaware, I’m a multi-published author in women’s fiction and romance novels. I have edited hundreds of manuscripts in multiple fiction genres, with well established, best-selling authors as well as newer writers with no publishing history. My edits focus primarily on content and developmental edits, with in-line editing as well.
I try to make every story the strongest it can be, while maintaining the unique voice of the writer. My edits are constructive in nature, and I provide suggestions to any issues in a respectful manner.

I offer sample editing up to 1st chapter (or 10pgs) free of charge to get a feel for my style of editing.

Please visit my Outsource profile for my author references and reviews.

Published Author Forum Video

I attended a Published Author’s Forum at Greater Fort Worth Writers Group back in March 2016. Here is the video clip of my portion. I had a lot of fun sharing my journey and interacting with other writers. There’s some useful pieces of advice for those of you who are interested in writing and trying to start your own journeys. If you want more information, come join one of our meetings, or send me a message on my Contact Me page. Enjoy!

Click here

4:22 long

 

Prince of Solana Nominated for Coveted RONE Award

Order here!

Order here!

As I was sitting in the lobby of the RT16 Convention waiting on my ride, I received an email from InD’Tale (one of the premier romance review companies) that the 1st in the Royals of Solana romantic suspense novel, Prince of Solana, was nominated for the coveted RONE Award!

Each year InD’tale Magazine honors the very best books in the Indie and Small publishing industry by awarding the prestigious RONE award.  To achieve this award, a RONEAwardbook  must go through the most comprehensive process in the industry today, with three distinct areas of focus.

  1. All books in each given year (January 1st – December 31st) must have been read and reviewed by our professional staff of reviewers and be given a four star rating or higher to qualify as a nominee.
  2. All nominees, with the exception of 5 star rated books which will automatically become finalists, must then be voted on by the reading public.  The books with the highest number of public votes will progress on to become finalists.
  3. The finalists will then be read by a group of industry professionals consisting of editors, writers, professors etc. and be judged on a one to five scale from a specific list of requirements such as characterization, overall arc, editing etc.   Those scores will then be tallied by a professional company unrelated to InD’tale or its employees to determine the winner of the coveted RONE award, along with the honorable mentions.

All awards are announced at the annual RONE award gala event and ceremony and given the beautiful Crystal RONE award. This is a formal but extremely fun and entertaining night for all, one that truly honors all Indie and Small published authors, readers and professionals!”

I’m so beyond excited! Prince of Solana had received a 5-star review from InDTaleInD’Tale this year. The next step is voting from the public! The romantic suspense category is open to voters starting April 25th, thru May 1st. Mark your calendars. Please, please, please vote for Prince of Solana!

I’m truly humbled to even have this beauty nominated!

http://www.indtale.com/2016-rone-awards-week-two

Jewel of Solana Blog Tour! January 19-27th, 2016

For Jewel of Solana‘s release on 1/22/16, come join me on the BLOG TOUR! Stop by and read the posts and enter contests!

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1/19 – Sunshine Reads Blog: https://sunshinereadsfl.wordpress.com/

1/20 – Reading Keeps Me Sane blog: http://readingkeepmesane.blogspot.com/

1/21 – Shey’s Book Cave: https://www.facebook.com/sheysbookcave/timeline

1/22 – Y&R Blog – Behind the Cover: http://www.yandrpr.com/#!blog/c3s

1/23 – Venture Galleries – http://venturegalleries.com/

1/24 – My Life One Story At A Time: http://mylifeonestoryatatime.com/

1/25 – Nice Ladies, Naughty Books: http://niceladiesnaughtybooks.com/

1/26 – My Girlfriends Couch: http://mygirlfriendscouchfb.blogspot.com/

1/27 – Slick Reads: http://www.guiltypleasuresbookreviews.com/

2015: A Look Back (Happy New Year!)

2015ReflectionWow. Just wow.

Writing-wise, 2015 was a pretty stellar year. I sold the sequel in the Royals of Solana trilogy, went to my first RT Convention and met some incredible authors/friends, attended six book signings, finished half of the 3rd novel in Royals of Solana trilogy, wrote a new short story in its entirety (with ideas for 2 more in the series), and plotted a brand new Young Adult novel. For extra kicks, I finished the first 3 chapters of it, and invested in my public relations and marketing brand with a kick-a** PR company (Y&R PR).

2016 is lined up to be just as big, if not bigger! I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to NewYear Clockstart on those lofty goals!

In the personal side of my life, intense highs balanced some vicious lows.

First and foremost, my husband and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary! I’m so blessed to have this man as my companion in life. He took me to the Bahamas, where we spent four incredible days scuba diving! Several wreck dives, huge schools of fish, even a shark sighting! Water is a major place of peace for me, and allowed me to recharge with the one I love. Boy did we both need it! (And a huge thank you to my parents, who watched our two angels, despite everyone getting sick while we were gone!)

We also moved into a new house, an seven-year-long savings effort that we finally achieved!

Our seven-year-old started first grade in a new school, and those changes don’t mesh well for someone with Autism Spectrum disorder. Adjusting and acclimating to new surroundings, teachers, and friends was a tremendous challenge for him, and many days were extremely rough. Combine with major hassles with health insurance, including a still ongoing legal fight, my stress was at an all time high in 2015.

Despite all these, there are still so many things for which I am thankful. Our youngest had his cranial helmet removed and learned to walk (actually, went straight to running!) He started part-time daycare and made new friends. A billion more things with my hubby, family, and friends, and all their tremendous support that I cannot thank enough!

2016 is going to have some significant challenges as well. Goes with the territory, but I’m well prepared.

2016 Goals:Remember WhereYouve Been

Continue “Go With the Flow

New mantra: “When you start doubting yourself, remember how far you’ve
come.”

No more soda🙂 (already 2 days into that one!)

I wish everyone a peaceful and happy New Year. Here’s to a phenomenal 2016!NewYearChampagne

Playlist for Prince of Solana – Enjoy!

I finally got around to finishing the playlist for Prince of Solana.

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These are a list of songs that I either listened to while writing the scene, or captures the tone I tried to convey.

I hope you enjoy!!

Spotify playlist link here, or individual songs listed below.

Chapter 1 –  On The Long Way Down by Robert Delong

Chapter 2 – Vide Cor Meum by Patrick Cassidy

Chapter 3 – RedHands by REVO (Walk Off the Earth)

Chapter 4 – Who You Love by Katy Perry & John Mayer

Chapter 6 – Howl by Florence & The Machine

Chapter 7 – My Fault by Imagine Dragons

Chapter 8 – Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap

Chapter 13 – I’m Sending You Away (Oblivion Soundtrack)

Chapter 16 – One Last Night by Vaults

Chapter 19 –Undimmed by Time, Unbound by Death (Oblivion Soundtrack)

Chapter 20 –Demons by Imagine Dragons

Chapter 21 –Insatiable by Darren Hayes

Chapter 22 –When A Heart Breaks by Ben Rector

Chapter 24 – Fearful Odds (Oblivion Soundtrack)

Chapter 25 –New Mexico by Edward Shearmur

Chapter 26 –Iridescent by Linkin Park

Chapter 27 –Raven Rock (Oblivion Soundtrack)

Chapter 28 – Cut by Plumb

Chapter 30 – Sail by AwolNation

Chapter 31 –Secret by Ocean Lab

Chapter 32 –Waking Up (Oblivion Soundtrack)

Chapter 33 – You Can’t Save Her (Oblivion Soundtrack)

Chapter 34 –Heart of Courage by Two Steps From Hell

Chapter 35 – Warriors by Imagine Dragons

Chapter 37 –Gravity by Sara Bareilles

Chapter 38 – Kissing by Bliss

The Best Villains Make Me Cry

*This post originally appeared on the Smart Girls Read Romance Blog on June 10th, 2015.*

Everyone knows the iconic villains, the anti-heroes everyone knows (listed randomly, in no order of preference):

Jack Nicholson’s Joker, Darth Vader, the Wicked Witch of the West, Lord Voldemort, Freddy Kruger, Hannibal Lecter, Jack Torrance from The Shining.

I’ve always been intrigued by the villains that were especially creepy and twisted because of a horrible backstory or other circumstance, where you can understand why they’ve become villains. The kind of characters where you almost root for them to win, or at the very least feel sad when they lose (or die). The ones that stick with you, and you can’t forget them even if you wanted to. That’s what I’m truly excited for whenever I pick up a book or sit down to a movie. The right villain.

One of the best examples of this is Loki from Thor/Avengers, played by Tom Hiddleston.

Loki The character is extremely complex, conflicted, and above all: twisted. He has such a sad backstory, his mind has been jaded over time and he’s viciously gifted. Each time he has ‘died,’ it literally pulls on my heart to see him perish. I cry every time he suffers.

Another example is Mr. Silva from James Bond Skyfall, played by Javier SilvaBardem.

The man was so emotionally and physically tortured, I could understand why he’d become so evil. To be honest, I think anyone under his circumstances could have easily turned to ‘the dark side’ like him. He was so creepy, and elegant terrifying until he removed his facial implant. Then there was nothing elegant about him. At the very end, you could see the torture bubble to the surface and play out on his face and in his actions with M (Judy Dench). His performance has stuck with me ever since the first time I saw it.

A final example is King Commodus from Gladiator, played by Joaquin Phoenix.

CommodusAll he wanted was his father’s approval, acceptance, and love. And boy, does he fail on so many levels. That failure morphs into a homicidal jealousy towards Maximus (Russell Crow), patricide, and a sickening attraction to his sister. Not to mention power-hungry, and a thirst for blood. By the end of the story, he’s made it so easy to hate this villain, and so easy for me to watch it over and over again. He’s just that evil.

There are so many other villains that fit this description. That have stayed with me over the years. But I want to hear from you.

Who are some of your favorite villains, and why?

Prince of Solana Alternate Ending

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Click on cover to Purchase PRINCE OF SOLANA

Exclusive for those visiting the website or on my subscribers list, an alternate ending for the Prince of Solana!

Enjoy!

*DISCLAIMER: The scene below contains adult content, including explicit language and sexual intercourse. It is not suitable for children under the age of 17 years old. Reader discretion strongly advised.

ALTERNATE ENDING

“I owe you everything,” he whispered into her neck, nuzzling below her ear. “You saved me, in so many ways. Whatever you want, mi diamente, it’s yours.” He fluttered a kiss on her skin and slowly trailed his hand up her uninjured arm. “Money, jewels, horses…a palace.”

Everything shifted and she pushed back, placing her hand on his sash. Her fingers trembled over his chest as she processed his words. What is he doing?

“Going forward, nothing in my life is certain. Except as a Peralta, I will always have a target on my back. I have no right to ask you this, to put you in more danger with everything you’ve already sacrificed. I understand if that risk is too much for you.” He cupped her neck. “But I’m in love with you, Gemma Westfall. I want you with me.”

Gemma’s mouth opened, but nothing came out except a gasp. She gripped the opening of his jacket, fighting back the growing lump in her throat. The deep color in his eyes hypnotized her, but she forced herself to look away. Anyone would melt into those eyes. Give anything to stay lost in his gaze.

He fluttered a kiss on her forehead, pulling her closer to his chest. Her senses were overloaded by his musky cologne, burying the stubborn will that told her to back away. His heart raced under her hand. “Now that I’ve found you, I won’t let you go,” he breathed, almost winded.

“Why?” she asked into his neck. The lump in her throat made her voice crack. “I have nothing you need.”

“You are everything I need.” André held her elbows and gazed hard into her eyes. “I need you with me. You give me the strength to do what’s right. To make it through all of this chaos.”

Her mind whirled. She couldn’t imagine the responsibilities on his shoulders, or how she could possibly help him with any of them. She was merely a shell of what she used to be.

“This room is yours,” André continued. “The palace, gardens, stables, it’s all free reign for you. An entire team of Royal Guardsmen will accompany you anywhere you want to go on the island. At any time you want. The best clothes, most expensive jewels, whatever you want. As long as you’re with me.”

Gemma’s head hurt the more André spoke. All the attention and extravagance he promised, overwhelming as they were, wasn’t anything she wanted.

“Or…you can live in a house of your own just off the palace grounds.” André’s voice became significantly less enthusiastic. “Ride horses until your boots fall off. Just…please stay.”

Everything he offered was worth more than she could ever hope to earn in a lifetime. Supposed to represent the love of a man worth a hundred times that. But the man she fell in love with on a dusty ranch thousands of miles away was far less extravagant. And infinitely more precious. He stood in front of her wearing his true colors, the ones he was born to wear. The ones she would never dare ask him to remove.

When she didn’t respond, his voice lowered even further. “Is it…the cartel you’re worried about?”

“I could give a shit about them,” she murmured. It was so hard to look into his eyes. She’d cave if she did. “I don’t know how to fit into this world, André. You’re regal, I’m country. You’re distinguished, educated and everything a woman could want, and I have a foul mouth and an ugly history. You have a country depending on you, and all I have is…” Her voice trailed off and she didn’t want to say it. It hurt to even think it: I have no one, just a shattered heart.

“You have me,” he finished for her, kissing her knuckles and breathing her in. “For the record, I worship your mouth.”

Gemma’s laugh sounded like a sob.

“I love how direct you are,” André continued. “No nonsense, with a heart ten times bigger than Texas. Not a single ruler in the world could rival your pride and loyalty. Stefano, Rico, and all of Solana already adore you. Let me be your family, Gemma.” He held her hands like in prayer, his fluttering lips melted her insides and made everything ache. She didn’t have the heart to tell him she didn’t care about the people. His people. They meant everything to his family legacy, and he belonged here. But she didn’t.

Not the qualities needed in royalty. Her heart wept so much, no words made it past her throat.

“I can wait until you’re ready,” he whispered into her hair, clearly sensing her fear. “You don’t have to decide anything today. Right now, just be with me. The man you met on the ranch. Who christened himself on horseshit, made you throw sugar in my face, and whom you love to ride into oblivion.”

Gemma flushed and heat pooled in her core. “You’re the best time I’ve ever had.”

He grinned. “Me too.” He led her inside, so gentle and handsome she could barely breathe. Standing in a room meant for a princess, she felt something cave inside her. Her will, her defenses, common sense, she wasn’t sure. Whatever it was, it was lost. “It’s not a quilt by your pond or the hull of a boat.” André’s voice melted over her skin like silk. “But I think I can still make this our best time.”

Gemma used her good arm to grab his elbow and pull him into her, flush against her chest. “As long as when you kiss me, you can’t look anywhere else. I don’t want to remember anything else right now.” Her voice shook and her knees quaked. “Not yesterday, not what we lost, or what will happen tomorrow. I just want you.” Tears built behind her eyes and she tried to breathe.

Through the cotton shirt, her nipples rubbed against his sash and they felt heavy. Aching. André’s eyes darkened and his lips parted on an inaudible gasp.

She opened her lips to say more, but André smothered her mouth with his own. His tongue swept inside like a conquering explorer, tasting every corner. Like she was a spring of eternal water and he couldn’t drink enough. He cradled her head and tilted, delving deeper and pulling her closer.

Every move was gentle, tender and careful. Dragging his hands down, he found her skirt and drew it up in his fingers until he reached the skin of her thighs, never releasing her mouth. His touch trailed up her legs and a groan rumbled in his throat. “You may not like skirts, but your legs are made for them.”

She lunged for his mouth again, desperate to suck on that sunbeam taste she adored. Those plump lips that ignited her fires and drove her wild. Though she couldn’t lift her arm higher than her waist, he worked around her inability, careful when lifting her shirt over her head and sliding it down her arm. Without a thought, her black bra came next. The wound was still bandaged and she hated the mobility restriction. André didn’t seem to mind as he caressed her skin, moving to her aching breasts and teasing her nipples with the palms of his hands. Shocks rocketed to her sex, instantly wetting her folds.

Maravillosa,” he moaned and bent his head to suckle one between his lips. Everything ached. That sweet coil building everything inside to a breathless torture. Every flick and swirl of his tongue drove her a step tighter and weaker. She clung to his shoulder, her fingernails digging into his muscle leaving red indents. One of his hands braced against her back, pulling her closer into his mouth, while the other slid up her thigh to the apex and cupped her. Her hips ground against him, involuntarily.

“As much as I love this skirt,” he murmured against the valley of her breasts. “I like you better in nothing.”

“You’re wearing more than me,” she panted. “But I’ll admit this is a good look for you.” She pulled on his sash, loving the feel of the silk along her peaked nipples. He slipped two fingers in the side of her panties and stroked her clit, swollen and sensitive. She jerked at the surging heat, and winced at a stab of pain radiating through her shoulder and neck. He pulled back instantly, but she urged him on by gyrating her hips to the same rhythm as his fingers.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he stammered.

“You will if you stop,” she panted and slipped his coat off his shoulder. With a single roll of his arm, the coat dropped to the floor. He unbuttoned the vest and then the shirt. Gemma used her good arm to pull the sash over his head and draped it over her own. The silk caressed her breasts like his fluttered kisses she loved. The grin he gave with flashing eyes made her heart skip.

He slipped her skirt and panties down together, slowly skimming her legs to her knees, then let the fabric drop to the floor. He took a step back and drank her in. She wore nothing but his royal sash and her boots. The hunger in his eyes, that feral gaze would have made a timid rabbit skitter away, but not her. She slid a finger up and down the silk, slow and sensual, giving him a chance to drool while he shucked off his belt and pants.

Everything about him was toned and tan. Everything. But her eyes focused on his thickness, fully erect and near dripping from the tip. He was as ready for her as she was for him.

He leaned down and pulled a condom packet from his pants pocket. She watched him tear it open with his teeth, and then slip it on with those skilled hands. He was like a tropical tiger, fixated on his target with intense hunger that made her heart race.

He prowled up to her and slipped a hand over her fleshy bottom. With a squeeze, she bit her lip and raised her knee, wrapping her leg around his thigh. With her legs opened, he didn’t wait for a further invitation and slipped himself inside her tight sheath, full to the hilt. She gasped and clutched onto his shoulder for balance, letting her body adjust to the fullness of him. The coil wound tighter, and she bit back the urge to let it spring loose. Her arm trembled, but her other wasn’t strong enough to hold onto him. With a roll of his hips, he gripped her ass and hoisted her up onto himself, letting her wrap both legs around him.

In an instant he’d moved to the bed and carefully—slowly and lovingly—laid her back on the comforter, still buried inside her. The jostle was only painful for a moment, but once settled back into the bed that wrapped around her sides, she relaxed. The bed was the perfect height for him. He adjusted himself to her entrance and rolled his pelvis into her. A moan crept up her throat with each ripple. André grabbed her leg and removed her boot, and then repeated with the other leg. All without pulling out.

“You’re a drug,” she whimpered. With another swirl of his hips, she clutched the comforter. “So addicting and hard to break free of.”

“Never,” he grunted on a thrust. “I won’t let you break free of me. Just fall into me, Gemma.”

She whimpered and arched her back, feeling him drive deeper into her core. The heat grew higher and higher. Every muscle throbbed with a coiling ache only he could quench.

“I love the little sounds you make. Your fight for control, to ride me into submission.” His raspy voice as he continued to thrust made her wetter with every syllable.

“This will be your only chance to dominate me without a fight.” She smiled and placed a hand on his chest, feeling the muscles flex and quiver. His skin was hot, nearly steaming.

“Fighting with you is the best thing in the world, next to this.” He thrust hard and she cried out. Her body jerked at the painful pleasure. He leaned over her further, their faces only inches apart. “You’re too much to let go. You consume me, mi amor. Love me. Fall into me.”

Something squeezed tight in her chest, and she almost sobbed. She gripped his neck and held his gaze right over hers for several more thrusts. His eyes had darkened, full of primal lust—or was that her reflection?

The coil wound tighter, tighter…then a final plunge sprung it loose. Every muscle quaked and throbbed as she screamed her release. André continued driving into her, panting with beads of sweat on his neck. Her channel clenched and pulsed around him, and she squeezed her legs around his thighs. He was building, on the verge of release himself from his pushes more jerky and urgent. His eyes clamped shut and his mouth fell open. A guttural groan erupted from his throat and his hot seed shot into her.

“Open your eyes,” she panted through her own throbbing climax. He stared straight down into her open soul. Every fleck of brown in his irises lit up as he finished his orgasm with slow swirls of his hips. The hottest thing she’d ever seen. She pulled his head down and smothered her lips over his, plowing into his mouth like his cock dived into her. His body shuddered and he angled his head, massaging every inch of her tongue with his own.

This was the man she loved. Free, animalistic, loving the fight as much as she, but not afraid to let her win. Letting her consume him, even if only for a night.

Because that’s all she could give him.

André collapsed to her side, careful not to jostle her more. Tingles raced all through her body, especially into her face, as she savored the delicious moment staring at the chandelier above their heads. A breeze fluttered through the curtains, kissing her skin with cool relief. Everything here was beautiful, exotic, even hypnotizing. Foreign.

A tear trailed down her cheek. Gemma went to wipe it away, but winced when she used the wrong arm. Everything around her was foreign. André was the only part that she understood. The love for his family, his people, his country, determined to make up for any previous shortcomings. She envied that. Mostly because she no longer had that choice. Everyone to whom she owed something was dead.

Though immersed in the most beautiful place on Earth, her life was a disaster. She loved a man she couldn’t hold, and had no hope of deserving his status. Loving a prince—a king—had taken away her home, her livelihood, and everything she knew.

The only thing left it hadn’t taken was her freedom. Control of the remnants of her life. Let me be your family, he’d said. Her heart soared and sank all at once. She’d craved a family for the longest time, almost as much as her own independence. But the image in her head had been vastly different than the one he’d laid before her. Much simpler, less intimidating, and less restrictive. In that dream, she’d been a whole person.

André fell asleep at her side and for several hours she watched his peaceful slumber, loving how he smiled in his sleep, instead of being plagued by more nightmares. Just as the afternoon sun drifted across the comforter, she rose and dressed, somehow managing to put her arm back in the sling, all without waking him.

Crystals and gems covered almost every inch of the room around her, and through the balcony doors promised a paradise only seen in her dreams.

Yet the real treasure slumbered in the bed, one of which she wasn’t worthy. More importantly, André wasn’t ready for her. Even if she were the kind of woman to stand beside a King, they both still had too much baggage to sort through before they could commit to each other. Until he’d done that, she wouldn’t imprison him either. She pushed back a strand of hair off his forehead and fought back the moisture in her eyes. After the lightest and most painful kiss to his temple, she snuck out of the room.

Descending the stairs in the royal palace was the most glamorous walk of shame of her life. And the worst. The dwindling sunlight smacked her in the face before she disappeared into the limo and rode off.

To Be Continued in CROWN OF SOLANA