Cover Reveal

Look!  Look!  Catt Ford made me a pretty!

Dont Wanna Lose Your Love-Build


As it often does, the bad news comes in the middle of the night.
When attorney Ben Winters’s close friend takes a bad spill and ends up in the hospital, he flies across the country to be there for her. His instant attraction to her brother takes him by surprise. Wanting Zack Anderson is easy; actually having him is a bad idea. While the two connect over concern for Zack’s sister, there are many reasons to fight the attraction brewing between them. Things heat up as Ben’s friend begins to show improvement, but the reasons not to get involved with the younger man remain the same—long distance relationships never work, and Ben doesn’t do one night stands. But there’s one powerful reason to give in. Ben has never wanted anyone more.
It’ll be up for individual sale on June 1st–direct from Dreamspinner Press or from your favorite third party seller.  But if you’re of a mind to get an awesome deal on the whole package, and get a story a day for the month of June, head on over to DsP right now and get this year’s Daily Dose.

On The Verge

So there’s stuff going on!  It’s great!

I’ve got some good news that I’m not quite ready to share yet, but I will be soon.  Hopefully really soon.  But I’m super excited about it and I’m trying to get everything settled before I shout about it.

I’m just about ready to start writing the next book in the trilogy.  You know, it’s funny.  When I wrote Something Like Hope I intended it to be a single title.  I had not thoughts, for once, about writing a series.  It wasn’t going to happen.  Then the Admiral started reading it and told me he wanted another character’s story.  My first reaction was: “But he’s straight!”  And then…oh.  No he’s not and I know how and why.  And that was going to be the second book.  And then the other characters happened, and I realized quickly that no, that’s the third book and there’s another one in between (because the timing works out that way better) and a trilogy was born.  Of which both remaining books are plotted.  So I’m nearly ready to start getting those words on the page.

Even though it’s the Admiral’s fault, I guess I can’t blame him too much.  I’m looking forward to diving in to these other two books and telling these stories as well.  Book number 2, Something Like Trust, is looking to be a long novella.  Book number 3, Something Like Love, will probably be a little shorter, but still in the larger novella range.

And after that?  Well, there’s a couple of things that I have in the pipeline.  A couple of ideas are swimming around, and though they are on hold until I get some books written, they are waiting patiently.  I’m very glad they are.

I’m on the verge.  Of sharing good news, and starting a new WIP.  Of it being a really great writing year.  And of getting a new writing space that is sure to help the creative process even more!

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Okay, so this one is different than the normal fics.  For one thing?  It’s not so much a flash as it is a short story in three parts.  For another?  It’s NSFW.  The Admiral wanted firsts; First Kiss, First Time, First Love.  So that’s what you get.  Young love, and a string of firsts.  Enjoy!**

First Kiss

Caleb was the most beautiful boy in the world.  Tall, strong, blond haired and blue eyed, he was the All American ideal of perfect.  He was the senior class president, popular as all hell, and kind and generous too.  He was everything I wanted, and everything I knew I could never have.

I was a lowly junior, a year younger, five inches shorter, and at least twenty pounds heavier.  I all but worshipped him, and he starred in my nightly fantasies.  But I knew that he would never look my way.  At least not the way I wanted him to.  And though I did my best to keep my adoration of him from showing on my face, I was pretty sure he had at least an idea of the way I felt about him.

We were friends, of a sort.  We ran in some of the same circles, and we were both members of the Gay Straight Alliance at our school.  I was definitely gay.  Caleb was bi.  He had both girls and boys fawning all over him, and he was nice to them all.  I had garnered the attention of no one, except the creepy guy in algebra class who sometimes stared at me without blinking.  I was still not sure whether he wanted to kiss me or chain me up in his basement.

I was working hard to get over my crush.  I knew it would never go anywhere.  A person couldn’t help who they were attracted to.  I couldn’t change the fact that Caleb did it for me anymore than I could change that I didn’t do it for him.  I understood that’s how it worked.  It wasn’t easy though, because I genuinely liked the guy on top of wanting to strip him naked and do dirty things with him.

As usual, these thoughts swirled in my brain as I shouldered my bulging backpack and started trudging toward home.  The final bell had rung since it wasn’t Tuesday, the day that the GSA met, I had no after school activities.  The only thing on my agenda was to go home and start my homework.  Fun.

The sound of a car approaching had me squeezing over to the side of the road.  There was no sidewalk here on the tiny street that led out of the back of the school property, which I thought was stupid.  And I hope whatever jackass in the car was going to be polite and not run me into the grass. That happened more often than not.

But the car slowed to a crawl and then was barely moving as it pulled up alongside me.  The whir of the window lowering had me looking, ducking just a bit to see how was inside, and coming face to face with Caleb.

“Hi, Nick,” he said in that low, happy tone he almost always had.  “Need a ride?”

I swallowed hard.  I reminded myself we were sort of friends and that Caleb was just a really nice guy.  That way, I wouldn’t read too much into it.  “Thanks, but I don’t live far.”

For a fraction of a second, a frown marred his pretty face.  “Get in anyway.  Your backpack looks really heavy.”

I contemplated him for a moment, decided he was for real, and opened the door.  “Thanks,” I said as I slid into the seat.  I had to work at fitting my bag between my feet on the floor.  “Teacher conspiracy today to pile on the homework.”

He laughed, deep and hearty.  A warm feeling spread in my stomach at having made him do it.  I grinned.

“I know that feeling,” he said when he calmed down.  “So, where’m I going?”

I gave him directions and he started driving again. It only took me ten minutes to walk home on a bad day, and in a car we were pulling down my street about three minutes later.  We didn’t even have time to start a conversation, let alone for the silence to grow awkward.  I reminded myself again that Caleb was a really nice guy.

“You weren’t kidding,” he said when he pulled into my driveway.

“Yeah.” I tried for a smile.  I was sad that our time was already at an end, and kicking myself for sitting there quietly when I could have been talking to him.  I reached for the handle.  “Thanks again.”

His hand on my arm stopped me, and I turned to look at him.  He was biting his plump bottom lip, and then he released it and took a deep breath.  “Nick, hey listen.  Are you dating anyone?”

I couldn’t stop the snort of disbelief.  “Yeah, right.”  What the hell?  Was he making fun of me?

“I’m serious,” Caleb said, and his tone made me think he was.  “You’re adorable.  And sweet and funny and…” he stopped to blow out a breath.  “Are you?”

Holy shit.  I swallowed hard.  “No.”

“Good.” And then he did the impossible and reached out to cup my cheek.  For a moment he did nothing but stare, and then he lean forward, gently brushing his lips against mine.  I made a noise I couldn’t even describe.  He was kissing me.  Not just a kiss, but my first kiss. His lips were warm and dry, soft against my own, and even better than I imagined.  But just as I was getting over the shock and really getting into it, he pulled back.

“What?” I said, just staring at him but not really focusing.

His thumb brushed against my bottom lip.  “I want more of that.”

“Um, I.  You see—.”  What in the actual hell?

“I’m sorry it took me so long to really see you,” he said softly.

I nodded, sucked in a breath, swallowed convulsively.  I reached for the handle again and took a firm hold of my backpack.  Then I turned and glanced back over my shoulder.  “Want to come in for a while?”

His beautiful smile said it all.


First Time


Caleb’s parents were gone for the entire weekend.  He was eighteen, so he got to stay home.  We’d been inseparable since that kiss in the car three months ago, and we’d done everything but…well, butt sex.  I knew what he tasted like, how he felt in my hand, the sensation of him coming on my skin as we rubbed off on each other.  But we’d never gone all the way.

I was scared.

I wanted it.  It was all I thought about.  But Caleb had done it before, with both guys and girls, and I was a virgin.  The thought of his cock going in my ass was slightly terrifying.  Caleb had been really good about not pressuring me, but there were times when I knew it was all he wanted.  He even offered to bottom our first time, but I had no interest whatsoever in pitching.  I knew it would feel good, eventually.  I’d read everything I could get my hands on.  And I knew Caleb would be careful and do everything he could to make it good.

But there was no way it wasn’t going to hurt.

Now was the time.  With the weekend looming before us, no parental supervision, and nothing but us and a bed, it was the perfect opportunity.  I knew it was now or never.

I loved Caleb’s skin.  I could spend hours pressed against him, running my fingers over his back and chest. I loved the way he kissed, slow and deep, and it always left me panting, hard and aching.  I couldn’t count the number of times we’d laid here just like this, touching and rubbing until we both came. But it was different tonight, and nerves made my hands shake.

Caleb pulled away for a moment, and then came back with the bottle of lube he’d put on the floor beside the bed.   I swallowed hard, my exhale shaky.  Caleb’s smile turned soft, and he lifted a hand to cup my cheek.

“We don’t have to,” he whispered.  I knew he meant it, but I also heard that slight edge of disappointment.

I shook my head and pulled him tighter to me. “I want to.  I’m just nervous.”

He studied me for a long moment, his blue gaze tracking all over my face, before he nodded and kissed me.  When he pulled away, I was so busy trying to remember how to breathe that I didn’t notice what he was doing until the tip of his finger slid into my ass.  I immediately tensed up, and Caleb went still.

He put his lips against mine. “Breathe,” he murmured.  “Relax for me.”

I did, slowly, matching my breaths to his and focusing on all the other places our bodies touched.  This was Caleb, I trusted him.  Eventually, my muscles unclenched and he slid his finger deeper inside me. Oh.  Okay.  Not bad.  Weird.  Different.  But not bad.


“Yeah.”  I nodded, panting.  And then he moved that finger, in and out, slow but steady and my entire world lit up.

“Oh fuck!” I breathed out.  Everything was so sensitive, and it still felt weird.  But weird was slowly sliding away in favor of very good.  I wanted him to move faster, to push hard, to do something more.  I wiggled my hips, not knowing what I needed, but needing just the same.

Caleb lifted up far enough to kiss me, his tongue sweeping in and battling with mine.  I clutched at his shoulders, hanging on and kissing him back with everything I had. When I was fully engaged with his lips and tongue, Caleb slid another finger inside me.

I reared back, sucking in a breath.  Ow.  Okay, that burned. Caleb soothed me with soft murmurs and gentle touches of his free hand while he waited for me to relax.


“Keep going,” I gritted out.  I breathed deeply for a long minute, wiggling a little to try to adjust.  I knew if I could just get passed this, it would start to feel good.  “Move.”

Caleb did, but he kept his gaze fixed firmly on my face.  Once again, the more he touched me and fucked me with his fingers, the better it got.  My cock had wilted, but even though my body was betraying me, I wanted this.  I wanted him inside me.

Caleb kept watching me as he thrust with his fingers, searching, and suddenly I was howling, my balls going tight and my dick suddenly hard.

“Oh fuck!” I yelled out, electric shocks shooting everywhere through my body.  “Oh my god.”

“Good?” he asked, but his smirk was a little smug.

Holy hell, why hadn’t we done this before?  I knew what I had read, but nothing came close to actually feeling what it was like to have my prostate touched.  “Do it again,” I demanded.

He did, his fingers moving faster and occasionally touching that gland and making me jerk and writhe for him.  I was panting, sweaty and desperate, clawing at him by the time he finally pulled his fingers free and smoothed on a condom.  I was hard enough to pound nails.  I wanted to come.

Caleb slid between my thighs and when he put his hands behind my knees and pushed them back toward my chest, I turned a brilliant shade of red.  It was sort of embarrassing, being on display for him, but it helped that he was looking at me like I was the best fucking thing ever.  He adjusted his position, and mine, until he was happy.  And then I felt the pressure of the blunt head of his cock at my asshole.

“Ready?”  He was checking, and I appreciated that.  But I just wanted him in.

“Go slow,” I said anyway, because my nerves were coming back full force.

He nodded, kissed me one more time, and then did as I asked.

“Ow.  Fuck,” I hissed.  “Ow.”

Caleb went still.  “Nick?  Baby?”

I tugged at him, wanting him in even as it hurt.  And it did hurt, less than I thought it would, but there was still pain.  I tried to breathe and remember that part of me could stretch, that he really could fit.  I was fighting the urge to force him out, because I wanted him in so badly.

“Caleb,” I moaned, tugging some more.  “Please.”

It seemed to take forever, but finally he was balls deep in my ass.  My dick was limp, and I was sweating and shaking, but he was inside me.  Caleb’s cock was all the way inside me.  And the longer he stayed there, the less it hurt and the better it felt.

“So fucking tight,” he murmured, the strain of remaining still in every line of his body.  He slowly moved one hand until he could take my cock in his hand.  And even though I’d completely lost my hard on, his touch felt good.  He tugged at me, gently but firmly, and my body started to react.

“Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop.”  Everything felt good now, and I wanted more.

“Won’t,” he promised, and circled his hip.  Oh my fucking God, that felt so good.  With him inside me and my dick hard again, I was suddenly ready to go off.

“Gonna come,” I grunted, a bit surprised.

Caleb started thrusting, and time sped up.  I was about to fucking go off like a rocket, the pain and pleasure all mixing together.  When Caleb started to aim, and found my gland again, I practically screamed as I shot, every muscle in my body locking down.

I came back to awareness a few moments later just as Caleb grunted and pushed his way into me one last time.  He came hard and long and then collapsed on top of me.  I couldn’t make my arms work, so I just turned my head and kissed his forehead.

A few minutes later, he pulled out, and I winced and groaned.  Ouch again.

“You okay?” he asked softly, not looking at me as he pulled off the condom.

I managed to lift an arm and place it on his back.  “Yes.  That was good.”

He turned just enough to peer at me over his shoulder.  I could see the disbelief all over his face.  “Sore?”

“Yeah,” I admitted softly.  My ass felt tender and swollen, and I wasn’t sure my legs were still connected to my body.  I grabbed onto his upper arm and tugged. Caleb moved slowly, until he finally laid down beside me and carefully wrapped me in my arms.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

His head popped up and he looked at me in shock.  “For what?”

“That was good. Really good.”  My voice was still quiet but I didn’t have to force my smile. “Bet it gets even better the more we practice. We should practice a lot.”

A laugh burst out of him, and he pulled me in close and hugged me tight.  “Yeah.  We should.”

I couldn’t keep the grin off my face.

First Love

I didn’t count the days, weeks, and months we’d been together.  I didn’t count the number of times we’s sneaked off to some secluded place to fuck like bunnies.  I didn’t count the touches, the kisses, the dinners out, or when we held hands.  I was counting something much more important.

I was counting the days until Caleb left.

Sure, the college he was headed for was only three hours away.    He had a car that could make the trip with no problem. And he was making plans for weekends home, and how we would spend our breaks.

But everyone said it couldn’t last.  They said that once Caleb got into the joys of college, he wouldn’t have time for a boyfriend stuck in high school.  Caleb insisted it wouldn’t be that way.  He swore that he would be back as often as he could, that we’d still text all the time, and talk every night.  But it was a lot easier to believe all the naysayers than it was to believe Caleb.

I still had four weeks, six days, and eleven hours to go.  And I was determined to make every last second of them count.

When Caleb showed up at me door wearing a grin and my favorite T-shirt, I left the house with him without a thought.  I needed to be with him.  He took my hand immediately, and we meandered through my neighborhood.  We were mostly silent, only sharing a few words here and there.  It was comfortable and peaceful, and I loved our moments like this.  When the park loomed into view, I wasn’t surprised that Caleb headed straight for it.  Dusk was starting to fall, so it was fairly deserted, and it didn’t take us long to find a quiet spot leaning up against a huge maple. Caleb pulled me in between his legs, and I pressed my back to his chest as he wrapped his arms around me.

“You’ve been quiet the last few days,” he said softly.

I didn’t know what to say, so I kept my mouth shut.  I had been.  When we’d been together, I’d purposely kept my mouth shut and did everything I could to soak up his presences.  I sighed and leaned more heavily against him as if I could somehow capture his heat and keep it with me when he was gone.

“Nick?” Caleb prodded gently.  He shifted our positions just enough so that he could look me in the eye.  “Tell me what’s up.”

“I’m going to miss you.” It was all the truth I had for him.

“Oh baby, I’m going to miss you too,” he said fervently.  He squeezed me tight and placed a kiss on my temple.  “But we’ll talk all the time, and see each other whenever we can.”

I nodded.  He believed that.  Now. But I knew things would change.  He’d be busy with school work and new friends, and he’d meet all sorts of good looking people.  Before too long, his high school boyfriend would be a distant memory.

Caleb squinted at me.  “You don’t believe me?”

“It’s not that,” I assured him quietly. “I just think that things are going to change once you get there and…” I trailed off with a shrug.

“Nick,” he said seriously, his gaze piercing.  “I love you.”

“I know.”

He gave me a little shake.  “Hear me.  I am in love you with you.  Bone deep, over the moon, stupid in love with you. That’s not going to change.  So unless you’re breaking up with me—”

“No!”  My interruption was fast and loud.

Caleb smiled.  “Then stop worrying about it. You’re stuck with me because I love you.”

He was so serious, so confident, that the weight I was carrying let go and floated away. He loved me. Completely and for real.

“I love you Caleb.” My response was whispered because I could barely speak around the lump in my throat.

He nodded once.  “Then that’s all that matters.”  He kissed me, deep and slow, and when he pulled back, he gazed into my eyes.  “Just because we’re young doesn’t mean it can’t last.  Just because it’s our first love, doesn’t mean it isn’t our last love too.”

Flash Fic Friday

Special Flash Fic

**In honor of the Admiral’s birthday, a short special fic.  Happy Birthday honey, even if you’re not celebrating :D**

I loved Vegas, but right now the crowds were getting on my last nerve.  The lobby of the casino was packed, and I was just trying to get across the floor.  I wasn’t sure when people had lost all their manners, but I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Fuckers.

Someone knocked into me hard from behind.  I stumbled and nearly fell.  I whirled around, ready to yell at the inconsiderate fucker for not paying attention, but as soon as I caught sight of the man, the words dried up.  He was trying to hide under a ball cap and dark sunglasses, but I knew that face.  Those lips.  That chin.

“Hey, man, I’m sorry,” his voice rumbled.  My knees nearly gave out.  Chris fucking Pine had bumped into me, was talking to me, and I could do nothing but stare.

He reached up and pulled off the glasses, his brilliant blue eyes piercing into me as he studied my face.  “You all right?”

“Yeah,” I croaked out.  I cleared my throat.  “Yes.  You’re Chris Pine.”  I winced.  Fuck a duck, I sounded like an idiot.

His smile was gorgeous as he held out a hand.  “Yeah.  Nice to meet you.”

I took his hand, holding it more than a shake, but he didn’t seem to notice.  I nearly whimpered at the touch of his skin on mine.  But Chris just shook my hand and then pulled away.  I stood there like an idiot when he gave me a wave and left.

I could have kicked myself.  I had the man of my fantasies right in front of me and I did nothing about it.  I should have at least given him my name or tried to draw him into conversation.  In the thousands of scenarios I had daydreamed, it had never gone like that.


My husband’s voice shocked me out of my reverie, and I looked up into his brown eyes.  He was wearing a concerned expression. I opened my mouth, shut it again, and swallowed hard.

“Chris Pine.”  It was all I could manage to say.


“Was here.  Touched me.  Talked to me.”  Goddamn, I was better at words than this.

My husband scowled, and his voice dropped low.  “He was here?”

I nodded.

The scowl got darker.  “If he’d have said the word, you’d have followed him back to his room and let him fuck you.”

I nodded again, because he already knew the truth.  He growled.  Then he took my face in his hands and kissed me.  It was hard and possessive, biting at my lips as his hands cradled my head.  As always, I melted under his touch.  I loved him.  Chris Pine was the fantasy, and yes, I would have cheated on my husband for him.  But this?  This right here was real and every day and amazing.

When we broke for air, he looked down into my eyes, his gaze alight with passion and need.  “How about I take you back to our room and I fuck you instead?  Remind you who you belong to?”

“What if someone hears?”  I couldn’t resist teasing.

He growled again.  “I’ll make an exception this time.”

He took a hold of my elbow and I let him pull me from the lobby.  Best.  Vacation.  Ever.


LGBTQ Push Back Giveaway

giveaway posterYou know everything that’s been going on in Indiana.  And that is just the latest example of idiocy and hurt and bigotry.  So it’s time to push back.  It’s time to support worthy, inclusive charities.  Ones that are trying to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ youths.

Head on over to Diverse Reader.  Get the full story, and be entered in a chance to win.  Donate a little money, donate a little time, let us know about it there, and you’ll go into the drawing for a book.  There are 224 participating authors and bloggers, so that’s a lot of fantastic prizes.

It’s worth it, don’t you think?  LGBTQ people, and the young ones in particular, really need help.  They can’t wait for laws to change and so we need to do our part now.  Seriously, get involved.

Want to see who’s all involved in giving stuff away? Check out the video to see a list of names of authors and bloggers who have donated a book as thanks for you getting involved.

Let’s make a difference.  Every little bit helps.



Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

After accidentally posting earlier this week, it’s now really time for Flash Fic Friday!

**Okay, so this week I brought back Elliott and Nate.  Remember them and their proposal at the zoo?  They totally wanted to come back when we got this week’s challenge–a phobia, lost keys, and a birth.  Enjoy!**

“Keys, keys, keys,” I muttered to myself, tossing the pillows off the couch and sticking my hand down between the cushions.  I’d torn the house apart looking for my damn keys, and I was freaking out.  I always tossed them in the bowl on the little table by the door when I came in, but they weren’t there.  Panic was starting to rise in my throat.  I had to go. I had to get to the zoo. I had to be there.  There was no way I was missing this.

Nate’s nearly constant text messages weren’t helping any either.  Now that I knew Amala was close to giving birth, and that I’d be allowed in despite not being an actual staff member, I was desperate to get there.  I’d been waiting for this moment for nearly two years, ever since Nate came home and announced the young elephant was pregnant.  He’d been just like a proud papa.  I knew the girls were like his children.  Hell, I loved them almost as much as he did.  Indira was both of our favorite, and Amala was her daughter.  I didn’t want to miss seeing the moment Indira became a grandmother.

But I couldn’t find my fucking keys!

There was only one place I hadn’t looked, and with sinking dread, I realized that it was likely the keys were in that room.  Because Nate, the rat bastard, had been a good husband and taken my car for an oil change last night.  And since he’d had the keys, and had gone straight to the freezer and gotten several pinkies the moment he’d walked in the door, probability was high that’s where they were.

I checked the freezer for the keys first, just in case.  No such luck.

Fear welled in my gut, and for a moment I thought I was going to puke.  I almost thought it would be better to call a cab and pay the exorbitant fees than go in that room.  Which was just ridiculous.  I loved Nate more than anything in the world, but I was going to kill him dead for making me do this.

It was just a snake.  A baby, not even two foot long albino python.  I dreaded the day she got big enough that she could no longer eat the tiny, frozen, naked baby mice.  Nate swore Jezebel was a sweetheart.  But I knew better.  Snakes were gross and dangerous and they ate poor defenseless mice and other rodents.  I hated snakes.

Okay, they scared the ever loving crap out of me, and the only reason I allowed one in the house was because she had her own room and was kept under lock and key.

My phone went off again with another text from Nate.  His “hurry up, Elliott, you’re going to miss everything!” finally spurred me into action.  I took a deep breath, and swallowed down the bile.  I approached the room slowly.  My hand was shaking as I lifted it to unlock the deadbolt.  It turned easily.  Slowly, every so carefully, I inched the door open a few inches.  I closed my eyes, pressed my hand to my stomach, and peeked inside.

Instantly I saw the snake, high on a tree perch in the corner of the elaborate habitat Nate had constructed along the back wall.  The door to the enclosure was firmly shut and latched.  I stuck my head a little farther into the room, and tried to look around while keeping an eye on the snake and making sure she stayed put.

There, on the tiny table right by the snake, were my keys.  Goddammit and mother fucker.  Okay, okay.  I could do this.  The snake couldn’t get me from where she was, the mesh screen was firmly intact and there was no way she could get out.  I inched into the room, took a deep breath and ran for the table.  I snatched my keys up, and bolted, slamming and locking the door behind me.  Panting hard, fear and adrenaline pouring through my veins, I leaned against the cool wood for a moment, trying to get myself back under control.

Fucking snakes.

Another chime from my phone, and I was running from the house, barely remembering to lock the front door on my way out.  It took barely twenty minutes to get to the zoo, and I parked illegally in staff parking before racing through the front door.  I was there all the time, and I barely waved to the volunteer at the ticket booth.  Agnes was a grandmother of eight, and the sweetest lady on the entire planet.  She just laughed as I ran by.

It was late, and the zoo would be closing in about a half an hour, so there weren’t too many patrons still inside.  Despite that, I had to dodge and weave around a few small children, and was ready to leap over a stroller until it was moved at the last second.  I was panting hard and out of breath by the time I made it to the elephant enclosure, and ran around to the back where the stables were.  Only then did I slow, take a minute to catch my breath, and then carefully and quietly push open the door.

I saw Nate right away, my beautiful husband wearing a huge grin.  I walked quickly, my sneakers not making a sound on the concrete floor, and sidled up beside him.  He startled, but as soon as he realized it was me, he tucked me under his arm and kissed my cheek.

“You made it just in time,” he whispered, and pointed into the stall.

There was no doubt about it, the birthing process was absolutely disgusting.  And Amala was obviously in pain.  It broke my heart to see it, and my already queasy stomach turned at the blood and amniotic fluid.  But I still watched in awe as the tiny baby elephant made its way into the world.

Nate and a few other staff members went in as soon as they could, toweling off the baby and giving it and Mama a quick check.  Amala had been born in this zoo fifteen years ago, and she considered Nate part of the herd, so she accepted the attention without fuss.  I watched for a bit longer, before I headed down the aisle to visit with Indira.

Indira was still snuffling her trunk in my hair when Nate found us.  He patted Indira’s trunk, gave her a few scratches behind her ear, and then turned a beaming smile on me.

“Amala is fine,” he told us both, one hand still on Indira.  “And so is her calf.  A beautiful baby boy.”

I had to admit, I was a little sad at the news only because it meant that the baby couldn’t stay with the herd.  The zoo already had one bull elephant, and wouldn’t keep two.  Jahi was only twenty or so, and had a lot of years left.  The baby would be sent to another zoo in a few years, and that broke my heart.

Indira started making a growly noise, a stomach rumble she used to communicate with the herd.  Nate did his best to soothe her.  I knew she was anxious to check on Amala and the baby, but Nate had told me before that no one else would be allowed near her for at least a few hours.  I reached up to pet Indira’s trunk too, hoping to help.

“What are you going to call him?” I asked softly.

Nate pulled a face.  “The zoo will announce the birth in the paper and on the news, and then have a naming contest.”  He rolled his eyes.  “We won’t know for a few weeks what his name is.”

I scrunched up my nose.  “We are so not doing that for our kids,” I teased without thought.

Nate sucked in a breath, and I realized what I said.  I gaped at him, trying to take the words back, but I couldn’t make myself.


I shook my head quickly.  “A conversation for another day.  Let’s go look at No Name instead.”  I gave Indira another pat, and then headed for Amala’s stall without a backward glance.  I heard Nate following, and he caught up with me fast, grabbing my hand.

“I love you.”

I smiled.  “I love you too.  So much.  I’m going to kill you later though, because I had to go in the snake room.  So I guess we don’t have to worry about kids after all.”

Nate let out a happy laugh, and tugged me close, giving me a swift, deep kiss on the lips.  “You can tell me the story while we watch No Name find his feet.”

I had to agree, that sounded like a pretty fantastic idea.



Tomorrow, after work, I’m finally getting to head on my little vacation.  A weekend away.  Just my sister and me, holed up in a hotel, taking in some pretty sights, and basically, just relaxing.

I need it desperately.

I need to decompress in the worst way.  I need the demands of life to be put on hold for a brief time.  I need to take a step back from the normal.  Getting away, even though it’s not far and even though it’s nothing extremely special, is exactly the right thing for me.  I’ve been looking forward to this actual event for weeks, and the abstract thought of a vacation for more than a year.

The laptop is coming with me, of course.  There’s no way I could go so long without it (and thankfully the hotel has free Wi-Fi available).  The Kindle will be coming with me as well.  And also yarn.  Do I expect to make use out of all of those things?  No, probably not.  But I want to have them with me.  I am hoping to spend some time getting words on the page, and hoping that a change of scenery will help the creative process.

So I’m going to take the weekend to relax and get my head into a happier place.  I’ll still be around some, but probably not as much.  Enjoy the heck out of tomorrow’s flash fic, and if you stop in before I head out, I’ll definitely respond in a timely manner.  😀

And hey, don’t forget to stop by on Saturday too, where there is going to be an awesome and exciting announcement!


A Diversion

So I’m working on polishing up my story, and it’s going to take a few more weeks.  I’ve heard back from all quarters with some good input, and now I can edit and tweak and make it as shiny as possible.  This is the fun and daunting part of the work, because it makes me think and really push myself.  Of course, I’m also a little bit in love with my own words so sometimes it’s hard to change them.  I’m working on it though.

Now, this is the first in a trilogy, and I have the next two books roughly plotted as well.  So that’s good news.  When I get to them, I’ll be ready to write.  I also tentatively had another story on the calendar after I write those.

But in the meantime?  Something other is flitting in my brain, and I can see the beginning and some of the middle, so I’m going to put a bit of that on the page.  Because I need a diversion, a little something with a different feel, something to keep my creative juices flowing.  This one I think I’ll be working on in the in between, in and around the series.  I wouldn’t say it’s a complete departure from my norm, but it’s got a little bit of a different flavor, and that’s going to be fun.

At any rate, I’m working, working, working.  Edits and polishing and new things alike.  Because if I don’t get the stories written, then I can’t get them out into the world.

Enjoy your Wednesday.  Friday the flash fic will go up, for real this time (gah) and Saturday, there’s a special announcement.  And I’ll see you tomorrow too. 😀